The Nigeria football news media thrives on reportage of the biggest and best teams in Europe, leading to every Champions League draw getting lots of attention from Nigerian football fans. Ahead of the Champions League final, we take a close look at both sides and their fanbase in Nigeria.
What follows is more reportage and social media posts on the action and transfer news that breaks from these teams, leading up to the Champions League final which wraps up every European club football season.
Among the most followed clubs by Nigerians are Premier League and LaLiga teams. Serie A teams enjoy some following too. But with a Manchester City-Inter Milan final coming up, which team has more Nigerian fans?
Opinion: Manchester City Fan Base Imported From Barcelona
We had an in-house discussion between Goalball Live reporters and the prevalent opinion was that Manchester City have no fans in Nigeria.
The yardstick used for this comparison is the followings of clubs like Arsenal, as evidenced by Bukayo Saka's recent visit to the country; Manchester United and most especially Chelsea, who drummed up Nigerian support by fielding a number of Super Eagles players and prospects as their stock in European football soared in the Premier League era.
These three aforementioned clubs are the most followed English clubs in the world and have a great number of Nigerian fans. However, this does not mean that other English clubs have no Nigerian fans.
We have come across many Liverpool fans, a good number of Tottenham Hotspur fans, some Everton fans and more recently, Leicester City supporters. The Foxes have “Senior Man” Kelechi Iheanacho to thank for this. Man City, however, cannot be authoritatively said to have had a Nigerian fanbase at any point in time.
One of our reporters who has followed Nigerian fan culture for more than a decade had this to say about Manchester City's Nigerian fanbase: “Before the Saudis took over Man City in 2008, they were a run of the mill team. Not many people knew them like that.
“As they began to win trophies by beating the likes of Man Utd and Arsenal, and when Barcelona's greatest manager Pep Guardiola moved to the club, things changed. Still, not all Barcelona fans support them. They cannot pull a big crowd in the country. If this was a Manchester United-Inter Milan final, the buzz will be louder.”
Opinion: Inter Milan is Nigeria's Serie A team
Manchester City transfer news and Manchester City fixtures may garner more interest and spark more conversations than Inter Milan news among Nigerian fans, but our Goalball Live reporters believe that the Nerazzurri have more fans in the country than their opponents in the UCL final 2023.
For one, nine Nigerians have played for Inter Milan. Of the nine, four are Nigeria national football team legends and one is an AFCON legend. Another prevailing argument from our reporters is that the Italian Serie A is one of the first European leagues to have been broadcast on terrestrial television in Nigeria, leading to many fans coming in contact with Italian teams before any other European team.
One of our reporters posits, “Inter Milan had legends like Taribo West, Kanu Nwankwo and Obafemi Martins play for them. We grew up watching them and also seeing them wear the Super Eagles jersey at different AFCON tournaments. They are one of the OG fanbases in the general Nigerian football fanbase.”
“The popularity of the Premier League may have drowned them out but they will pull a much bigger crowd than Manchester City will in Nigeria.”
This article was most recently revised and updated 4 months ago