Barcelona and Argentina ace Lionel Messi is the UK’s favourite footballer.
Football memorabilia supplier Icons.com says sales of Messi products are four times higher than those of other popular players, like Robin Van Persie and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Icons chairman Edward Freedman, who is the former Manchester United merchandising director and Tottenham MD, said: “UK football fans love Spanish football and Messi in particular. He’s the neutral’s favourite with most football lovers now agreeing he is the best in the world, if not the best ever. The UK public has fallen in love with him.
“Everyone wants to be close to greatness and by owning a signed Messi shirt then you’ve got the world’s very best. When Icons.com says ‘signed by the world’s best’, we mean it.”
Icons also sells its memorabilia in Harrods, where Messi products outsell other players by five-to-one. Goods include signed shirts, photographs and boots.
The most popular English player in Britain is Steven Gerrard, who is number seven in Icons’ popular players list.
Freedman added: ““Does this mean UK football fans are getting less tribal and more sophisticated? That remains to be seen. But it does show how strong the Barcelona and Messi brands have become. They are setting new standards for the game and, in turn, reinventing the football memorabilia market.”
Here’s the top ten players in terms of memorabilia sales from April 2011 to April 2012:
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