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Man Utd star named most influential Premier League player, Chelsea ace tops Liverpool icon



Former Manchester United ace Wayne Rooney has been identified as the most influential Premier League footballer in history. The ex-England captain, currently plying his trade with Derby County, has finished top of the pile in a new study analysing players’ range of influence across a host of variables.

Rooney finished streets ahead of the opposition when taking into account his career length, media appearances, endorsements, charity work and digital presence.

The Manchester United and Everton icon racked up 491 appearances in the top flight between 2002 and 2018, scoring 183 goals during a glittering career.

This success on the pitch led to a multitude of opportunities off it, with Rooney gathering over 30 million followers on social media.

Television appearances and sponsorship deals were also par for the course during the playmaker’s heyday, boosting the 34-year-old’s score in the latest study.

JUST IN: All-time Premier League table: Liverpool gain on Chelsea and Arsenal but Man Utd still top

Speaking about the findings of the study, a representative from Online Casinos said: “It’s no surprise to us that Wayne Rooney is the most influential footballer in the world.

“Rooney scored first place across several of our categories – media, social media, and charity – with high results across the rest too.

“His influence as a player is huge, extending well beyond the Premier League, in fact the game of football, itself. He’s the player that everyone on the planet would know.

“The study has highlighted that in 2020, there’s much more to being a footballer than you might think. Players at such a high level have a huge amount of pressure and more goals to score than just on the pitch.

“It’s great to see someone with Rooney’s status acknowledge his position and use it to give something back, building a bigger influential legacy whilst inspiring and improving the lives of children and young people across the UK.

“It’s no surprise to us that Wayne Rooney has the biggest charity influence in our study. He’s known for working with numerous causes, but primarily takes the lead for his Wayne Rooney foundation.

“The foundation provides financial assistance to a range of registered causes – including the NSPCC, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and Claire’s House Children’s Hospice – often generating money with friendly football matches.”

Career appearances has been weighted with 25 per cent of the overall score in the study while net worth accounts for 10 per cent.

Media appearances, search results and social score also make up 10 per cent each while side projects such as appearances in video games, autobiographies and modelling work also account for 10 per cent.

Charity work is considered to hold high influence – with 20 per cent of the study weighted behind philanthropic activity – while sponsorship deals and size of brands completes the rankings with 5 per cent.

Rooney finished top for media influence, social influence and charity influence but it was David James who surprisingly led the way for search influence.

The goalkeeper, who played for Liverpool, Aston Villa, West Ham United, Manchester City and Aston Villa during his time in the Premier League, will have had his profile boosted by his appearance on Strictly Come Dancing while Rooney’s old United team-mate Ryan Giggs leads the way for sponsorship influence – but who else makes the top 20?

Most Influential Premier League footballers

*Index score out of 500. Players must have 400 or more Premier League appearances

20. Paul Scholes – 171.05

19. Jamie Carragher – 179.85

18. Petr Cech – 181.3

17. Gareth Barry – 185.15

16. Richard Dunne – 185.65

15. Alan Shearer – 187.65

14. James Milner – 193.7

13. Teddy Sheringham – 194.25

12. Michael Carrick – 197.55

11. Aaron Hughes – 209

10. Mark Schwarzer – 216.7

9. Ryan Giggs – 226.6

8. Kevin Davies – 232.15

7. Sol Campbell – 233.35

6. David James – 233.35

5. Frank Lampard – 279.15

4. Rio Ferdinand – 295.2

3. Steven Gerrard – 297.5

2. John Terry – 315.2

1. Wayne Rooney – 393.95

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Philippe Coutinho to Chelsea transfer boost, Man Utd target £81m Spain pair, Lionel Messi




Eden Hazard injury

Zinedine Zidane is not sure if Eden Hazard will play for Real Madrid again this season.

The former Chelsea playmaker is facing another lay-off after fracturing an ankle in Real’s surprise defeat to Levante in LaLiga last weekend.

It was only the Belgian’s second appearance since November after recovering from another injury to the same ankle.

The loss of the 29-year-old, who is yet to make his mark since his £89million move from Stamford Bridge last summer, is a big blow to Zidane at the start of a crucial week.

Real host Manchester City on Wednesday in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie before facing arch-rivals Barcelona, who leapfrogged them to top spot in LaLiga last weekend, on Sunday.

“He loves playing football and while I can’t tell you what is in his eyes, I can see he is not happy,” Zidane said. “It’s important he stays positive but, of course, it’s difficult. It’s a bad moment, it won’t be easy and he will feel like that for a while.

“I do not know if he will have to go through an operation. It is not my area and I don’t know if his season is over, but I hope not.”

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Barcelona make Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang transfer decision amid Arsenal exit rumours




“He’s already one of Arsenal’s highest earners, I think he’s the second highest after Mesut Ozil.

“But the issue is this is a team that’s rebuilding and they’re rebuilding to be competitive in a couple of years’ time.

“If keeping Aubameyang is going to mean a long-term contract that takes him up to 34 or 35 years old and ties you up with a ton of money, that might not be the right thing for Arsenal.

“So I think it’s going to depend on what sort of suitors are out there, who’s looking for a centre-forward?”

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Arsenal ready to pay £21m release clause amid Bukayo Saka talks but face Tottenham issue




Arsenal are reportedly ready to trigger the release clause of Getafe full-back Marc Cucurella. The Gunners could be forced to sign a new left-sided player with Bukayo Saka refusing to commit to a new deal as of yet. That could still change though and Mikel Arteta is hopeful that the young prodigy will stay at the Emirates Stadium.

Nonetheless, plans are already being drawn up for the summer window when the club are expected to bring several new faces through the door.

According to Spanish outlet COPE, Arsenal are just one of a number of clubs willing to pay the £21million (€25m) release clause of Cucurella.

That could leave the decision in the hands of the 21-year-old, who is on loan from Barcelona but that Getafe will sign for £5m (€6m) by exercising an option in his loan deal.

Arsenal face firm competition though with Tottenham also amongst the clubs willing to prise the young Spaniard away from La Liga.

JUST IN: Man Utd handed Jadon Sancho transfer boost after Liverpool update emerges

Cucurella is a player that Arteta has followed closely since his first coaching job with Manchester City.

In 2017, the current Premier League champions were keen on bringing him to the Etihad Stadium, but a move failed to materialise.

Getafe have been the surprise package in this season’s La Liga and are currently just outside the top four in fifth place.

The Madrid-based side beat Ajax 2-0 in the first-leg of their Europa League Round of 32 clash on Thursday.

Cucurella has been one of their standout performers this season and Barcelona know even though they do not want to keep him they can turnover significant profit.

Arsenal are hoping to tie up Saka to a new deal amid interest from Liverpool, but the 18-year-old has already said he is leaving talks to his representatives.

Arteta is hopeful the situation will get resolved sooner rather than later: “That is something the club has to get sorted.

“My priority is that he continues to play like he is doing and he keeps developing. He is always asking the right questions.

“He is a very brave guy. Every time he gets into the final third, he is trying to cause problems for the opponent. He deserves these chances, he is doing very well and that’s why he is in the team.

“He’s great for the club. If we can get players from the academy and give them real chances even when we have other people fit, it shows we believe in them. He’s responded well.”

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