Top 10 football clubs with the most fans in Africa

Nancy Marende

The introduction of satellite TV made it easier for Africans to watch European football. That resulted in many Africans supporting European teams, helping the teams create a significant fan base on the continent.

Furthermore, many European leagues have signed top African footballers over the years. And since Africans love to support their own, they have traditionally supported teams with African players.

For example, Chelsea FC gained significant followers in the early 2000s after signing top African players, including Michael Essien and Didier Drogba.

Besides signing African players, European teams that have been successful on the pitch have seen a rise in supporters from Africa.

The most supported football clubs in Africa in order are:

1. Manchester United – England

Manchester United logo
Manchester United

Manchester United is one of the top European football clubs with the most fans in Africa and the world.

The English Premier League club play at Old Trafford, with a stadium capacity of 74,879 and a worldwide fan and follower base of 1.1 billion.

Manchester United’s colossal follower base in Africa comes from its success on the pitch. The club has won 69 trophies, including 20 English League titles.

Nigeria’s Burna Boy and Kenya’s Eric Omondi are the most famous fans of Manchester United.

Also, some African players who played for Manchester United are Quinton Fortune, Eric Baily, and Odion Ighalo.

2. Arsenal – England

Arsenal logo
Arsenal’s crest

Arsenal enjoyed a large following of African fans during the 2003-04 season. That was when the English Premier League club won the title without a defeat, leading to their nickname, The Invincibles.

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African players that played for Arsenal during the invincible season are Nigeria’s Nwankwo Kanu, Cameroon’s Laureano Bisan-Etame Mayer, and Ivorians Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Eboué.

Initially, Arsenal played at the Highbury Stadium, which had a capacity of 38,419. However, the team moved to the Emirates Stadium in 2006 with a capacity of 60,704.

Arsenal enjoys a follower base of more than 100 million worldwide. Kenya’s Carol Radull and Uganda’s Bebe Cool are its most famous fans in Africa.

3. Chelsea – England

Chelsea Football Club logo
Chelsea FC badge

Chelsea is one of the European clubs with the most fans in Africa, particularly in West Africa.

The English Premier League club started signing African players in 1952 when South Africa’s Ralph Oelofse became the first African to play for the Blues.

However, their follower base in West Africa increased significantly in 1997 when it signed Nigeria’s Celestine Babayaro and in the early 2000s when the likes of Didier Drogba, Michael Essien, John Obi Mike, and Solomon Kalou joined the club.

Chelsea FC plays at Stamford Bridge, with a capacity of 40,343. The club also enjoys a worldwide following of over 110 million.

Nigeria’s Mr P, Rude Boy, and Davido are famous African Chelsea fans.

4. Liverpool – England

Liverpool FC logo
Liverpool FC logo

Liverpool became England’s most successful club before the Premier League’s introduction in 1992. The English club has won 19 top-flight leagues, only one behind Manchester United.

Globally, Liverpool has a follower base of over 560 million. While it is not the EPL club with the most fans in Africa, Liverpool has the most fans in Rwanda. For example, the Rwandan Reds are Africa’s most famous Liverpool fan club.

Liverpool FC plays at Anfield, which has a seating capacity of 53,394. The field has hosted many African players, including Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, and Rigobert Song.

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5. Barcelona – Spain

FC Barcelona
An FC Barcelona shirt with the club’s crest.

Barcelona is the most successful club in the Spanish La Liga. The team has won 77 trophies, including 27 La Liga, 31 Copa del Rey, 14 Supercopa de Espana, and five UEFA Champions League titles.

Barcelona’s success in La Liga has seen it enjoy a massive following in Africa and the world. The club has a worldwide following of over 520 million people.

Barcelona, which plays at the Camp Nou Stadium with a capacity of 99,354, has many followers in Africa because it has signed the best talents from the continent.

African players who have played for Barcelona are Samuel Eto’o, Yaya Toure, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Emmanuel Amuneke.

6. Real Madrid – Spain

Real Madrid's parade for the 14th Champions League
Real Madrid players celebrating their 14th Champions League trophy with their fans. Image: Twitter/@eSCTour

Real Madrid is also one of the top European clubs with the most fans in Africa.

The La Liga team enjoys a worldwide support of over 450 million and plays at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, which has a capacity of 81,044.

However, Real Madrid has a loyal African fan base because of its excellent display in the UEFA Champions League.

In other words, Real Madrid is the only European club with the most UEFA Champions League titles, 14.

The club has also signed many African players, including Samuel Eto’o, Mohamedou Diarra, Emmanuel Adebayor, and Geremi Njitap.

Noteworthy, Real Madrid has the most supporters in North Africa.

7. AC Milan – Italy

AC Milan logo
AC Milan

AC Milan has over 500 million fans worldwide. The club’s rich history of winning titles and signing top footballers has made it easier to enjoy significant support in Africa.

AC Milan has 49 trophies in its cabinet. The trophies include 19 league titles, five Copa Italia, and seven UEFA Champions League titles. 

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AC Milan plays at the San Siro Stadium, with a capacity of 75,817. The stadium has hosted many African players, including Taribo West, Taye Taiwo, and Sulley Muntari.

One interesting fact is that AC Milan shares their stadium with Inter Milan.

8. Juventus – Italy

Juventus logo
Juventus logo

Juventus is the most successful club in Italy. It has won 36 championships in its 106-year-old history.

The club plays at the Allianz Stadium, with a capacity of 41,507.

Juventus has a significant reach worldwide. It has more than 100 million fans in Europe and over 500 million fans globally.

Although the club was relegated to Serie B in 2006 because of a match-fixing scandal, it still maintained its support base in Africa.

It then began signing several African players, including Armand Traore, Medhi Benatia, Stephen Appia, Mohamed Sissoko, and Kwadwo Asamoah.

9. Manchester City – England

Man City fans invade their pitch after winning the Premier League
Man City fans invade their pitch after winning the Premier League. Image: Wikipedia

Manchester City is an English Premier League club that has recently seen an increase in fans from Africa. The team has a worldwide fan base of over 80 million people.

Manchester City won its first-ever English Premier League title in 2011. After that, it began signing top African talents, including Yaya Toure, Kolo Toure, Riyad Mahrez, and Wilfried Bony.

The signing of these four players saw Manchester City’s fan base increase in Ivory Coast and Algeria. It also helped Manchester City win more titles in 2013, 2017, 2018, 2020, 2021, and 2022. Yaya Toure’s performances made him one of the club legends.

Manchester City plays at the Etihad Stadium, which has a capacity of 53,400. Previously, the club played at Maine Road for 80 years until 2003.

10. Inter Milan – Italy

Inter Millan FC logo
Inter Milan

Inter Milan has been a top team in Europe for many decades. The club, which plays at the San Siro Stadium with a capacity of 75,817, has won 35 domestic trophies, including 19 Serie A titles.

Inter Milan became one of the most followed teams in Africa thanks to its signing of top African talents. The Italian Seria A side has signed Samuel Eto’o, Taribo West, and Sulley Muntari.

As a result, the team enjoys most of its fan base in West Africa. However, Inter Milan has more than 100 million fans worldwide.

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