Messi, Ronaldo toppled in Annual Top-Selling Shirts Countdown
After an extended period of dominance from Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, a new king of Kitbag.com has been crowned – but who came out on top in our third annual player printing countdown? Kitbag.com reveals all, as we put our sales figures under the microscope.
Click here for last year’s rundown – or read on for the top ten best-selling player shirts 2016…
10) Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City)
Despite seeing his Belgian side unceremoniously dumped out of EURO 2016, midfield marvel Kevin de Bruyne has wowed Kitbag customers sufficiently to become the first of six new entries on our chart. Contributing the opener in September’s Manchester derby win at Old Trafford, the 25-year old was on target again a week later in the Premier League leaders’ 4-0 demolition of Bournemouth at the Etihad. Does a first career English domestic title await?
09) Anthony Martial (Manchester United)
Shifting to the #11 shirt to accommodate the incoming Zlatan Ibrahimović, Manchester United’s Anthony Martial makes his first appearance in our October countdown, off the back of a successful first season in the English Premier League. Finishing up the Old Trafford club’s leading goalscorer for 2015-16, Martial has seen some of Jose Mourinho’s high-profile signings take precedence this season, but was able to net his first goal of the campaign at home to Stoke City in early October; albeit days after our period of focus concluded.
08) Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)
Starting the 2016-17 season with an irresistible burst of form, Sergio Aguero has helped his Manchester City command a slender, one-point lead at the peak of the Premier League table, while helping himself to a formidable 11-goal feast across all competitions. Among Aguero’s early season victims, the likes of Sunderland, Stoke City and Steaua Bucherest and while Borussia Monchengladbach may have weathered September’s Manchester storm, the Bundesliga side were ultimately unable to contend with Aguero’s attacking force, as the Argentinian claimed a hat-trick 24 hours later in UEFA Champions League play.
07) Luis Suarez (Barcelona)
One of European club football’s proverbial Marmite figures, the inimitable Luis Suarez did enough in recent months to play his way into our top ten; the third newcomer on our list, yet far from a stranger to success. Providing an affirmative answer to any questions of marketability that his controversial career might throw up, Suarez opened his account for 2016-17 in Barcelona’s Supercopa triumph, before claiming a hat-trick in the Catalans’ 6-2 thrashing of Real Betis and making a landmark 100th appearance in Barcelona colours.
06) Gareth Bale (Real Madrid)
The pride of Wales, Gareth Bale is the only player from the British isles to crack our top ten countdown and another newcomer on the 2016 list. Scoring his first goal of the new campaign only two minutes into Real Madrid’s La Liga opener, Bale would add a second in stoppage time to rubber-stamp the 3-0 win at Real Socieded, before nabbing the equaliser against Eibar at the Bernabeu in early October. Back on home soil, Bale would later edge ever-closer to Ian Rush’s international goalscoring record in Wales’ 1-1 qualifying draw with Georgia.
05) Neymar Jr. (Barcelona)
Moving up two places from our countdown a year ago, Barcelona star Neymar Jr. is yet to return to the heights of 2014, when he finished as runner-up. Nevertheless, his consistency as a shirt seller can only be commended, with the Brazilian one of only three players to rank in our chart in all of the three years compiled. A recurrent threat to goal, as demonstrated by his successful free-kick against Celtic, Neymar’s four assists in the Champions League humbling of the Hoops re-affirmed his status as a key component in the Barça team jigsaw.
04) Paul P0gba (Manchester United)
Returning to Old Trafford after a starring role at EURO 2016, expectations surrounding Frenchman Paul Pogba have reached an almost-immediate high; and while the potential of Manchester United’s investment is still to be realised on the pitch, Pogba’s popularity has already been reflected by significantly strong shirt sales. Debuting in the 2-0 home win over Southampton, before breaking his deadlock for 2016-17 in the 4-1 defeat of champions Leicester, time will tell if Pogba’s promising start results in the silverware he covets.
03) Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
A familiar face on the list to say the least, Cristiano Ronaldo’s 2016 has ranged from the sublime to the storybook, as the Portuguese pin-up pinned down UEFA Champions League honours, before becoming the only player in our ten to win the European Championship. Back in La Liga, Ronaldo returned from injury to help dispatch Osasuna, before scoring in each of the Spanish club’s latest European outings, as they begin their defence of the UCL title.
02) Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Finally heaved from his lofty perch, the majestic Lionel Messi continues to shift replica shirts like few of his like have before, yet the Argentinian has ultimately failed to repeat the level of sales success that led him to the top spot in 2014 and 2015. Taking solace in retaining his edge over career rival Ronaldo, one-club man Messi bagged a brace for his beloved Barcelona against Betis to begin 2016-17, scoring twice more in the 5-1 win at Leganes.
01) Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United)
Literally towering above the competition, our highest-ranking newcomer and the Kitbag.com king of 2016 is the mighty Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Recently turning 35, Zlatan is the oldest player on our list yet has emphatically captured the imagination of our customer base since Manchester was welcomed to Zlatan in typical style this summer. Scoring on his competitive debut at Bournemouth to continue an impressive streak of first impressions in La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1 and the UEFA Champions League alike, Ibrahimoic was additional on target in August’s Community Shield and September’s Manchester derby; while scoring twice to see off Southampton in the campaign’s inaugural Friday night fixture. The duration of the Swedish star’s Premier League stay may currently be unclear; yet the support received by way of his phenomenal shirt sales to date offers a clear message from the Kitbag.com faithful…
Long live the (new) king.
Memphis Depay is our countdown’s biggest faller; the Dutchman dropping off the chart from the dizzy heights of third 12 months ago, after falling out of first team favour in Manchester.
Bastian Schweinsteiger finished fourth in 2015, but has since been frozen out at Old Trafford, as Jose Mourinho moves to bring in his own in pursuit of EPL redemption.
Eden Hazard saw his Belgian side flatter to deceive at EURO 2016, much as his Chelsea team had done the preceding domestic season. Scoring twice against UCL holders Real Madrid in July’s International Champions’ Cup and again in Chelsea’s first two home games of new season, the midfielder nevertheless plummets off our list, from a high of fifth position.
Wayne Rooney will hardly need reminding of his downturn in popularity, following a veritable kicking from the media and public alike and the recent removal of his England captain’s armband. Once a mainstay in lists such as ours, Manchester United’s decorated marksman will require an upturn in form and fortune to return to our chart next time.
Alexis Sanchez reluctantly joins the England skipper in the doldrums; the Arsenal man plunging off our countdown, after two consecutive years among Kitbag.com’s key sellers.
Phillippe Coutinho completes the list of fallers; the Liverpool forward failing to bring home the Europa League trophy and experiencing further defeat in the Copa America Cenentario, in spite of scoring his first international hat-trick in the colours of his native Brazil.
Only four clubs are represented in our 2016 top ten, with Manchester United, Manchester City, Barcelona and Real Madrid providing an even split of players from the Premier League and La Liga and an equal 50% share between the Nike and adidas brands. Eight different nationalities are featured in the countdown, with Argentina and France contributing a pair of players apiece and with two of the top ten currently in their 30s, four others were born in the decade of the ’90s. Meanwhile, the most commonly-selected shirt number in our list is #11, as worn by three of our leading shirt sellers. The total sum of the squad numbers featured arrives at a satisfying 101, with a gap of 11 between the highest (de Bruyne’s #17) and the lowest (Pogba’s #6). Elsewhere, in terms of footballing silverware, our Kitbag.com top ten have snared a total of five Premier League titles between them, as well as 16 La Liga championships and 11 UEFA Champions Leagues. Finally, while our ten featured players have been capped 774 times for their respective national teams, not one of them has managed to win a FIFA World Cup; an intriguing fact to ponder, as we conclude our sales analysis. AC
As in 2014 and 2015, the 2016 list focuses on club shirt sales from 1 July to 30 September.