A data driven study, carried out Microsoft’s search engine Bing, has revealed the most frequently searched players of Euro 2016, ranking the repeat offenders. Online searches from all over Europe have been analysed since the beginning of the tournament and the results make it clear who’s been polarising public opinion.
Euro 2016 has given birth to a host of engaging stories, both on and off the field. From bar brawls to national records, the internet has been alive with the tournament from the very beginning. Ten players in particular have captured the imagination of the European public, some have attracted widespread admiration, others will be dreading the return flight home.
10. Aaron Ramsey
Aaron Ramsey will always be a headline grabber, so it’s not particularly surprising that the Welshman made it into Microsoft’s list of Top 10 most-searched Euro 2016 footballers. The primary reason for which: DAT HAIR. Whilst his performances on the field have been fairly ordinary (though widely hailed as Wales’ best player so far), everyone was flooding online to see the Arsenal man’s garish new cut.
9. Daniel Sturridge
It’s unsurprising to see Daniel Sturridge in the top 10, after the England striker scored one of the most dramatic goals of the tournament so far – every England fan has watched the goal celebrations on a loop whilst sat on the toilet.
8. Joe Hart
Unless fans have been searching for the latest range of Head & Shoulders shampoo, the likelihood is that the internet has been discussing whether the Manchester City keeper should have lost his place between the sticks for England. Hart’s dismal attempt at stopping Gareth Bale’s freekick was a particularly hot topic.
7. Will Grigg
In truth, not many defenses have been terrified by Northern Ireland’s Will Grigg this tournament, though the French terraces have been bouncing to the sound of his name. Will Grigg’s on fire and the internet can’t get enough of it.
6. Harry Kane
Missing: Harry Kane – if found please to Roy Hodgson. It’s not been the best of tournaments for the Premier League’s top scorer. After enraging his entire nation by taking every single set piece, Kane failed to register a single shot on target in the tournament. The Spurs man gathered social traction for all the wrong reasons.
5. Wayne Rooney
England’s Captain Fantastic has amazed everyone in his new-found role as a creative midfielder, having created more chances than any other player at the tournament in the group stages. Rooney’s costly exclusion from England’s final match against Slovakia left fans punching his name into their keyboards; the news that Rooney was to be sat on the sidelines left many in disbelief.
4. David De Gea
Another goalkeeper making headlines for all the wrong reasons. The Manchester United man was implicated in a bizarre sex scandal at the start of the tournament, a story so extraordinary that it was borederline unbelievable. It’s no wonder the Spaniard was immediately thrown into the public spotlight online.
3. Jamie Vardy
Jamie Vardy: The People’s Champion. Vardy’s equaliser from the bench against a resiliant Wales was a triumphant moment for the former non-league star, but it wasn’t the reason for the Leicester City striker’s popularity during the tournament. As Vardy boarded the plane to France, all of the discussion was about the star’s potential transfer to Arsenal – the rumours were soon to put to be as England’s campaign ended abruptly at Iceland.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo has had a frustrating time of it at Euro 2016. Matched up against teams with no interest other than defending, the Portugeuse icon has been reduced to tears by the hoards of defenders crowding him out of the game. The Real Madrid forward did his best Kim Kardashian impression after a frustrating draw with Iceland, almost breaking the internet with his astonishingly bitter comments about the Scandanavians.
1. Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale has been proudly flying the Welsh flag at Euro 2016, defying all of his nation’s critics to become the tournament’s joint top scorer after two suspicious acts of goalkeeping in his two opening fixtures. Though Bale’s apparent lack of modesty is undoubedtly the catalyst to the Madrid winger’s online traction – having not only claimed that England fans lacked passion, but that not a single English player would earn his way into the Wales squad.
The internet’s immediate reaction of outrage was massive, but the smug reaction after England beat Wales was off the moment that tipped internet searches over the edge.