Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann: Social media winners and losers from Euro 2016
By Patrick Surlis
Last Updated: 12/07/16 1:33pm
Starring at a major tournament can boost a player's profile, leading to big-money transfers and new sponsorship deals. So who were the big winners and losers from Euro 2016 off the pitch?
With help from Brandtix, we have combed social media for mentions of all players involved at the tournament and kept tabs on whether fan comments were positive or negative. By also tracking increases or decreases in total follower numbers, you get an idea of who is on the rise and who is not.
To give one example, when Joe Hart allowed Iceland forward Kolbeinn Sigthorsson's tame shot to squirm into the net, more than 85 per cent of social media chat about the England 'keeper turned negative. According to brand experts Brandtix, such mistakes harm a player's social value to brands.
With that in mind, we've put together a winners and losers XI - first up, let's take a look at those who attracted the most criticism on social media...
Joe Hart - England - Goalkeeper
Hart endured a nightmare tournament and it was reflected on Twitter and Facebook. More than 60 per cent of all social discussion about Hart was negative, with a big spike during England's elimination to Iceland.
Martin Skrtel - Slovakia - Defender
Skrtel had an up-and-down season at Liverpool and it didn't get much better in France as Slovakia were unceremoniously dumped out by Germany in the last 16. From a marketing perspective, Skrtel's value dropped five per cent during Euro 2016 and he is the least valuable player in this XI.
Sergio Ramos - Spain - Defender
Tweets and comments about the Real Madrid star peaked during Spain's group-stage decider against Croatia when Ramos saw his weak penalty saved by Danijel Subasic. Unsurprisingly, his spot-kick was panned.
Chris Smalling - England - Defender
Smalling didn't do much wrong individually, but as part of England's defence, did little to enhance his reputation. More than three-quarters of social media discussion about Smalling was negative during Euro 2016.
David Alaba - Austria - Defender
It was a tournament to forget for the Bayern Munich man as Austria failed to live up to expectations in Group F. As the poster boy for his country, Alaba bore the brunt of the blame and his brand value has decreased five per cent.
Arda Turan - Turkey - Midfield
Like Alaba, Barcelona playmaker Turan carried the hopes of his nation, and like Alaba, he flopped badly. According to Brandtix, the value of Turan's social brand dropped eight per cent over the course of Euro 2016 - the most of any midfielder.
Marouane Fellaini - Belgium - Midfield
A polarising figure before the tournament, Fellaini did little to endear himself to Belgium supporters and was dropped by manager Marc Wilmots after their defeat to Italy. Two-thirds of tweets and comments about Fellaini were negative.
Thomas Muller - Germany - Midfield
The 2014 World Cup Golden Boot winner was expected to spearhead Germany's trophy tilt, but failed to net in France and looked a shadow of the player we saw in Brazil. The social media reaction was swift; Muller has lost 10 per cent of his brand value and 60 per cent of all chatter was negative.
Raheem Sterling - England - Midfield
Sterling was pilloried on social media for his performance against Wales in the group stage, with a petition started to bring him home early. It may have been tongue-in-cheek, but Sterling's disastrous tournament has seen the Man City star drop out of the club's top 10 most valuable players.
Harry Kane - England - Forward
The Premier League top scorer failed to net once for England and his set-piece taking prompted plenty of criticism too. In fact, tweets and comments about Kane generated more negative sentiment than the much-maligned Sterling.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic - Sweden - Forward
He's one of the biggest names in world football and still boasts one of the largest social media followings, but Ibrahimovic flattered to deceive in France. Sweden's group-stage exit combined with Zlatan's international retirement saw his brand value dip seven per cent, although his subsequent move to Manchester United should see that recover.
Seven players from the Euro 2016 final feature in the biggest winners XI, while there's also room for a couple of Welsh heroes…
Hugo Lloris - France - Goalkeeper
Outstanding as host nation France reached the final, Lloris won plenty of praise on social media for his performances. But the overall value of his brand remains lower than rivals David de Gea and Gianluigi Buffon because the Frenchman does not have an official Twitter or Facebook account.
Pepe - Portugal - Defender
His reputation means he's more often the subject of social media ridicule, but Pepe earned respect after an impressive display in the final against France. It caps quite a year for the double European champion, who won the Champions League at club level in May before Euro 2016 at international level. Only Cristiano Ronaldo has a more valuable brand than Pepe among Portugal players.
Laurent Koscielny - France - Defender
Koscielny was steady throughout the tournament, with fan discussion about the Arsenal defender overwhelmingly positive (70 per cent). At Arsenal, only Mesut Ozil, Petr Cech and Alexis Sanchez are more valuable to brands than Koscielny.
Leonardo Bonucci - Italy - Defender
Only Buffon is more popular than Bonucci in the Italy squad now thanks to the defender's meteoric social media rise - he gained 10 per cent of his entire social media following in the space of the month-long competition.
Neil Taylor - Wales - Defender
Bonucci's follower count has exploded, but not quite on the level of Wales defender Neil Taylor. He's gained 25 per cent of his entire following since the start of the competition, and was the most praised defender on social media (76 per cent of comments positive).
Moussa Sissoko - France - Midfield
It's amazing what one performance can do. The Newcastle midfielder was France's stand-out player in their final defeat to Portugal, and he's now the third most valuable Frenchman behind Paul Pogba and Blaise Matuidi. No wonder Newcastle want £35m for him.
Renato Sanches - Portugal - Midfield
The Young Player of the Tournament has seen his follower count skyrocket over the last month, and having become the youngest player to reach a European Championship final, he's hit the global stage. A string of impressive displays by the teenager saw him finish the competition as they most widely praised midfielder on social media (70 per cent of comments positive).
Aaron Ramsey - Wales - Midfield
The Wales midfielder was arguably more crucial to his nation's progress than talisman Gareth Bale, and his absence in the semi-final against Portugal was keenly felt. More than two-thirds of social media conversations about Ramsey were positive, and only Ozil is more valuable player in the Arsenal squad.
Paul Pogba - France - Midfield
It ended in crushing disappointment, but in terms of name recognition, Pogba enjoyed a spectacular month. He is the face of a global Adidas campaign as well as the France national team, plus a £100m target for Man Utd. Add it all up and Pogba is now the world's most valuable midfielder.
Gareth Bale - Wales - Forward
Bale has gained three million followers since June 10, second only to Cristiano Ronaldo in terms of volume. A starring role for Wales meant the Real Madrid forward was the third most marketable player at the tournament, behind Ronaldo and host nation golden boy Antoine Griezmann.
Antoine Griezmann - France - Forward
The Euro 2016 Golden Boot and Player of the Tournament winner gained a remarkable 1.6 million followers in the space of seven days up to the final. Four goals against Iceland and Germany propelled that surge, although his final ended on a sour note. Having starred in the Champions League final at club level and Euro 2016 on home soil, Griezmann has increased his entire social fan base by 40 per cent since May.