You have to be mad to be a goalkeeper.
It’s a well-worn phrase but considering it’s the position on a football field where mistakes are most likely to result in conceded goals and dropped points, you do sometimes wonder why anyone dons the gloves—especially in this era of direct and uncensored fan feedback.
One just needs to glance at the prevailing negative reaction from Liverpool supporters on Twitter to Simon Mignolet signing a contract extension to gain an extra measure of admiration for the poor old ‘keeper.
But it gets worse, because despite operating in such a specialized position, rather than attracting quarterback-like adulation from fans and sponsors, the men between the sticks have traditionally been trampled in the rush to laud their teammates at the other end of the pitch.
Over the years the goalkeeper’s relative unpopularity has been reflected in many areas of the game. The highest fee paid for one—the £32.6 million that took Gianluigi Buffon from Parma to Juventus—only just makes the 30 highest transfer fees of all time, while the mega salaries and major sponsorship windfalls have also tended to find their way into the bank accounts of attacking players.
However the Brandtix Sports Index—the world’s first index to accurately measure athlete brand values by combining social media and sporting data—suggests things could be looking up for the humble custodian.
Fresh from earning their sides clean sheets in awkward away fixtures on Sunday, the two highest-placed ‘keepers in the Barclays Premier League BSI are Arsenal’s Petr Cech (5th) and Manchester United’s David De Gea (11th). Both players made significant index gains following last weekend’s round of matches, while De Gea’s smothering of United’s bitter rivals, Liverpool, earned him a remarkable 40,000 social media mentions on the day.
Throughout the season, the dominant performances of the Czech Republic and Spanish internationals have arguably won as many points for their teams as their creative colleagues, so it’s no surprise to see them sitting in second and third positions within their squads.
But even if you strip away the positive effect their on-field heroics have had on their BSI scores, the pair’s social media popularity still keeps them battling at the top of their star-laden teams. Petr Cech’s 6.5M fans across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram make him Arsenal’s sixth-most popular player on social media, while David De Gea’s total of 13.5M fans sees him at fourth place amongst his teammates.
What’s more, their impressive followings place them, along with Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois, within the Premier League’s 20 most popular players on social media.
With other Premier League teams in the index displaying similar trends, could it be that the goalkeeper is finally holding his own in the popularity stakes? And what does this say about their marketability going forward?
To find out more about the Brandtix Sports Index visit our website or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.