Always an interesting read, a new study by a leading sports & marketing research agency has revealed the top-selling club football shirts from the world’s two biggest sporting brands; Nike & adidas.

Whilst many believe that most team’s football shirts retail in the millions every year, the reality is that only a handful of elite clubs have the fan-power to shift kits in that number, which is why Nike and adidas have such lucrative contracts to market them.

Compiled by Dr. Peter Rohlmann, these figures show the yearly average sales encompassing 2007-08 to 2011-12 – and make for some pretty interesting reading.


adidas' top-selling club football shirts

Real Madrid – 1.4 million
Chelsea – 910,000
Bayern Munich – ' 880,000
Liverpool – 810,000
AC Milan – ' 350,000

With superstars like Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka & Mesut Ozil Real Madrid have a global appeal that few can match – so it’s no surprise to see them at the pinavvle of adidas’ shirt sales. Chelsea & Bayern Munich contest second and third, undoubtedly both teams seeing their average sales boosted by their presence in the Champions League final earlier this year.

With this being an average taken up to the end of last season, Liverpool are still in adidas’ top 5 – and whilst their performance on the pitch has been less than stellar, it’s no surprise Warrior were willing to pay top dollar for the technical supplier deal at Anfield when they can shift shirts in that quantity.


Nikes' top-selling club football shirts

Manchester United – 1.4 million
Barcelona – ' 1.15 million
Arsenal – 800,000
Juventus – 480,000
Inter Milan – ' 425,000

Whereas Real Madrid are adidas sole million-shirt-selling clients on average per season, Nike can boast two in the titanic clubs that are Manchester United and' Barcelona.

Manchester United’s global presence is the envy of every club, with fans in the Middle East and Asia all coveting the famous red shirt of the Old Trafford team, but Barcelona are also on the rise. Employing the services of the lauded Leo Messi, as well as many of Spain’s World Cup & European Championship winners, the Catalan giants command a massive fanbase, most willing to splash out on a shirt.

Despite their well-noted lack of success in recent years, Arsenal remain a force to be reckoned with; their stylish play and astute business (as well as savvy tours of the Far East the past few pre-seasons) have done wonders for their shirts sales.

Rounding out the top 5 are two Italian giants; as well as being fanatically followed by those in Italy, the brands of both Juventus and Inter Milan carry a lot of weight thanks to their multi-national teams packed with top international talent.

Other Clubs

The collar of the Umbro Manchester City FC Home Shirt 2012-13

Whilst many of Europe’s biggest clubs are accounted for here, there’s plenty missing – so we’ve picked out some highlights from the rest of Dr.' Rohlmann’s study to see where they stack up:

-' Manchester City sold somewhere just over 250,000, but their five-year average is 175,000 per year ” sufficient only to place them 17th in Europe.

– Turkish giants' Galatasaray and Fenerbahce are well known for their fanatical followings, but would only manage numbers at the lower end of the 10 in good years, largely due to the increase of counterfeit goods in their home market, and relative unpopularity throughout the rest of Europe.

– Dutch giants Ajax average shirt sales only usually hover around the 100,000 mark. Despite a history of excellence and virtual ever-presence in the Champions League, the lack of popularity of the Dutch leagues overall provides a limited opportunity for the Amsterdam club to showcase themselves to international fans.

– Celtic can look forward to sales that max out at several hundred thousand – leaving them just outside the top ten. The strong connection to Irish history and success in the SPL often gives them strong sales in the US, Canada and Australia.

Are you surprised by the top ten? Or are there teams in there you’d have expected to see, but didn’t make the cut?

Let us know in the comments!

Written By
More from Kyle Elliot

adidas Predator Instinct: The Game | Behind the Scenes

We brave adidas Predator Instinct: The Game's gambit of hunters, lasers and...
Read More
Join the Conversation


  1. says: Chris

    It may be worth noting that Liverpool released less home kits in that time period (2007- 2011) due to their 2-season per home kit policy. 2007 would have seen the 2nd season of their home kit released a year before so sales would obviously be lower.

  2. says: Ben

    Take Ronaldo away from Real and they would sell anywhere near a million shirts. I’m not surprised by Man U numbers but I would of thought Barca would have sold a lot more than that. Also who the hell is buying poser pretender Chelsea shirts? Serious?

    1. says: LalaLand

      What a stupid comment with no meaning. Of course Real would. Have you seen the list of the stars they have in Real?

Leave a comment
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *