As the calendar year of 2013 drew to a close, football statisticians began an enquiry to find out who the most Googled footballer of the year was.
There were some surprise inclusions, no more so than number one. Surely it had to be either Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi or perhaps even Franck Ribery? Surprisingly not. In fact, the player doesn’t even ply his trade in Europe, though he has had a couple of spells over this way.
The award for Google’s most searched football player of 2013 goes to LA Galaxy’s American forward Landon Donovan.
The 31-year-old American international is a superstar in his own right back in the States. The popular forward has had a number of spells in Europe, including a permanent spell at Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen.
Despite signing a six-year deal as a youngster at Leverkusen, Donovan returned to the States to sign with major MLS side LA Galaxy. Due to the American league’s fixture schedule, Donovan has been allowed to move to Europe on short term loan deals – coinciding with the festive period before the MLS season starts in March.
Donovan has had spells at Bayern Munich and Everton in recent years – the latter spending time with a fellow American international and number four in Google’s most searched player list – goalkeeper Tim Howard.
Fulham’s Clint Dempsey comes in at number two, meaning three Americans make up the top four – sandwiching Wayne Rooney in 3rd spot.
Liverpool’s Uruguayan goal machine Luis Suarez completes the five in 5th spot. He is then followed by Spain’s David Villa – most likely googled by a high proportion of Spanish women. Ex-Arsenal legend Thierry Henry who also plies his trade in the U.S.A. is in 7th spot, then Man Utd’s Robin Van Persie in 8th before Chelsea duo Eden Hazard and John Terry make up the final two spots in the top ten.
The list demonstrates football’s ever growing popularity in the United States, and following the league’s expansion and an imminent David Beckham owned Florida team, it might not be too long before the MLS can rival Europe for the world’s top stars.
1) Landon Donovan
2) Clint Dempsey
3) Wayne Rooney
4) Tim Howard
5) Luis Suarez
6) David Villa
7) Thierry Henry
8) Robin Van Persie
9) Eden Hazard
10) John Terry
image: © Albumen