Despite cricket being the most popular sport in India, it's stature around the globe is quite minimal as compared to football. Cricketers, on various instances, have openly claimed their love for football. Two of the biggest icons of the sport, MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli are the co-owners of football clubs. Kevin Pietersen is friends with the players of one of the biggest clubs in England. Our very own Rahul Dravid is an avid follower of a pretty famous club in Europe. While Graeme Smith is the black sheep in his house, as he is the only one who didn't support United.
A sport that is played by over 250 million players in more than 200 countries, it's quite hard to keep yourself away from the game. We, at Sport Social, understand your cravings for our favourite cricket stars and thus present to you, the top 5 cricketers and the club's they support:
Virat Kohli, Real Madrid:
India's very own Virat Kohli is an ardent fan of the Los Blancos. Having followed Manchester United in his early days, he shifted his loyalty towards Real Madrid as soon as Cristiano Ronaldo made the switch. "Yeah, I support Real Madrid. It's mainly because of Cristiano Ronaldo. I think he is a truly amazing player. I love watching him play," he told NDTV. When asked about football's popularity in the country, Kohli said, "Football is a sport that is loved globally and it's great to see so many kids having an interest in football apart from cricket as well, in India. Although Ronaldo is now plying his trade in Italy for Juventus, the Goa FC co-owner is still a Real Madrid fan but is updated with the whereabouts of Juventus. He is friends with Germany's Thomas Muller and has praised Phillipe Lahm for his extraordinary work-rate. While he has also exchanged jerseys with Tottenham's Harry Kane.
Kevin Pietersen, Chelsea:
Kevin Pietersen is a true Chelsea supporter and is vocal about it when asked. In an interview, the popular English batsmen said, "Chelsea is my team. I have supported it for years. I have a lot of friends there. (Frank) Lampard is a good mate of mine. I have known him for years. I also got to know Ashley Cole and John Terry during my rehabilitation for my Achilles surgery a few years ago. I live in Chelsea and train there too". Talk about being vocal, Pietersen even went on to mock David Beckham when Chelsea defeated United 3-1 stating, "Sorry Mr. Beckham, Chelsea day today!"
Rahul Dravid, Arsenal:
You could not think of "the Wall" to follow any other sports but cricket. Such has been the legend of Dravid as a cricketer. But to everyone's surprise, Dravid is an Arsenal fan and has shown his praise for the gunners and Arsene Wenger in particular. In an interview with The Standard, he states how Arsene Wenger's "professional and intellectual style" made him support the club. Surprisingly, like many other Arsenal supporters, he has a particular hatred towards their arch-rivals Manchester United. His slogan? "Anybody but United was my slogan".
Graeme Smith, Liverpool:
The former South African captain is a keen supporter of the current UCL champions Liverpool FC. He hails Liverpool-great Kanny Dalglish as his all-time favourite. Speaking of Steven Gerrard, he said: "initially, what has to strike you most about Steven is that you don't get people like him in modern sport often.". Further, he told Liverpoolfc.com, "his loyalty, pride, and passion for Liverpool is so rare in these times. And it makes him unique because just by that, he doesn't have to say anything. The way he carries himself and the club says enough, he leads by example." Smith revealed, "I'm the black sheep of my house. Everyone support United, so I'm the outcast."
MS Dhoni, Manchester United:
There's something about the club which makes it so huge and thus have the biggest fanbase across India. And even MS Dhoni cannot keep himself away from supporting this gigantic club. The former captain is an avid football follower and supports United from the core. Being a goalkeeper from his early days, his love for football is not a surprise by any means. The co-owner of Chennaiyin FC, Dhoni has been the brand ambassador of the "Barclays Premier League" in India. Dhoni is a proud Manchester United supporter, who would otherwise keep ranting how relaxed David Moyes is? No one. "Football is very exciting and close to my heart. Even today, I play football as a warm-up game ahead of key cricket matches" he said in an interview.