Footballers who are/were more famous than their clubs – A player being bigger than a club is an idea that will be immediately rejected by some. An individual who thinks they’re ‘bigger than the club’ is a phrase which has become far more prominent thanks to Sir Alex Ferguson, who often used those words or similar to justify the sale of a major player with a supposed ego problem.
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Whilst Manchester United are one of the biggest clubs on the planet, and no player is bigger than that club, that is not always the case with lesser sides.
In some cases, the player is genuinely bigger than the club. This list is a collection of the 15 most glaring cases of exactly that. It counts only players who spent a significant amount at a club – at least two seasons – thus ruling out examples such as Socrates at Garforth Town or Paul Gascoigne at Boston United. The list includes some of the greatest and best known players of all time, as well as some who are far less well-known, that is because the list accounts for the relationship between the respective size of the player and the club.
‘Bigger’ does not have an absolute or concrete meaning within the world of football, and as such, there could be some confusion. However, we have used the term ‘bigger’ largely to mean the global appeal, worldwide interest and recognition of either the player or club. It is also worth noting that the list relates only to when the player was at the club, it is not to say the players time at the club eclipsed that of their entire history. Here are the top 15 soccer players who are/were bigger than their clubs:
15. Alessandro Del Piero – Sydney FC
An Italy and Juventus legend, Alessandro Del Piero is widely regarded as one of the finest players of his generation and one of the greatest Italian footballers of all time. A second striker/deep-lying forward, Del Piero is the joint second highest scoring Italian footballer in history. A Serie A, Champions League and World Cup winner, Del Piero joined Sydney FC from Juventus in 2012 as a marquee signing. Other marquee signings for the club include Dwight Yorke and Juninho Paulista, but neither are on the same scale as Del Piero, who scored 24 goals in 48 games in Australia for the 12 year old club.