Fans from the United Arab Emirates vote Ronaldo as the favourite player in the Barclays premier league

Published December 16th, 2008 - 01:00 GMT

Fans from the United Arab Emirates vote Ronaldo as the favourite player in the Barclays premier league

- Hundreds of Football fans across the UAE complete Barclays Global Fans Survey – the largest in the world -

Cristiano Ronaldo's stunning form over the past two seasons has seen him recognized by fans in the United Arab Emirates as their favourite  player, according to the 2008 Barclays Global Fans Report.

Published by Barclays today, official global title sponsor of the Premier League, the 23-year old was voted their favourite current Barclays Premier League player by 38% of UAE ahead of Liverpool pair, Fernando Torres (37%) and Steven Gerrard (30%).

The survey which canvassed the opinions of 32,000 supporters from 185 different countries including several hundred from the UAE reveals that fans from the United Arab Emirates crave exciting football, with style of football (35%) the most appealing aspect of the English game, ahead of atmosphere/passion of the fans (21%).

Fans from the United Arab Emirates vote:
• Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson as their current favourite Barclays Premier League manager (26%). Arsene Wenger (22%) and Luiz Felipe Scolari are also popular with fans from the United Arab Emirates
• Old Trafford (28%), Anfield (25%) and the Emirates Stadium (24%) are the favourite stadiums among fans
• Chelsea as the team they think will win the 2008/9 Barclays Premier League title (34%)
• Former Arsenal legend, Thierry Henry, as the favourite Barclays Premier League player of all-time (36%), ahead of David Beckham (29%) and Eric Cantona (24%).

Zeeshan Saleem, Head of Cards and Retail Assets, Barclays UAE, said: “The 2008 Barclays Global Fans Report has attracted a fantastic response from over 32,000 fans from 185 countries, or over 90 per cent of all countries around the world, making it the biggest survey of its type ever undertaken.

“As a topic of conversation football is twice as popular as all other sports combined, three times more popular than TV and four times more popular than politics. It’s a great unifying force and it proves that football really is the world’s game, and the Barclays Premier League is its favourite competition.”

Football fans from the United Arab Emirates are unique in the way they consume Barclays Premier League football compared to other regions across the world.

A remarkable 40% of fans questioned spend more than five more hours a week following the Barclays Premier League - the equivalent of over three games every seven days.

Interestingly almost one in four fans claim to have watched a Barclays Premier League match in person, while one in ten have supported their team for 31 years or more, which owes much to the country’s growing English community.

The analysis was carried out as part of ongoing research by Barclays, title sponsor of the Barclays Premier League, to better understand the attitudes and lifestyles of football fans around the world.

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