Basel: Roger Federer
The tennis star watches his hometown club when his schedule allows. “It’s always special being at [Basel’s stadium],” he said. “I saw them winning the title in 2002, ending a long drought. I like watching them on TV when I’m abroad or travelling. I can scream and yell as loud as I want.”
CSKA Moskva: Denis Lebedev
WBA cruiserwight champion since 2012, Lebedev served with the Russian army, and signed for CSKA thereafter. “I am a graduate of the CSKA sports academy,” he explained. “I was always a fan of the Red-and-Blues, and supported all the CSKA teams in every sport.”
Also: Oleg Menshikov (actor), Sergei Ivanov (former Russian minister of defence)
Having recently moved to Lisbon, the pop superstar nailed her colours to Benfica’s mast, visiting the stadium and signing her son David Banda up for the club’s academy. Fans on Instagram were impressed as she referred to the club as ‘Glorioso’ (The Glorious One) in social media posts.
Also: António Costa (Portuguese prime minister), Joaquim de Almeida (actor)
Manchester United: Usain Bolt
The world’s fastest man says he saw the light after watching striker Ruud van Nistelrooy, the Jamaican explaining: “He is why I started watching Manchester United. I never turned back and I’ve just seen great players after great players coming to United and doing a great job.”
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Anderlecht: Eddy Merckx
“My first match as a real Anderlecht fan was Paul van Himst’s debut as coach, away to Finnish side Koparit Kuopio in 1982,” remembered the five-time Tour de France winner. “[Former chairman] Costant Vanden Stock knew I was a close friend of Paul’s and invited me to Finland.” Merckx and Van Himst regularly watch Anderlecht home games together these days.
Bayern: Nico Rosberg
The former Formula 1 star’s mother is a long-time Dortmund supporter, but Rosberg is close to several Bayern players and once participated in a somewhat odd publicity stunt, singing the Bayern hymn while driving his F1 car around the track, with piano superstar Lang Lang. Check it out!
Also: Boris Becker (tennis player), Magdalena Neuner (biathlete)
Celtic: Rod Stewart
The singer loved Jock Stein’s Lisbon Lions who won the 1967 European Cup, and wept openly while as the Hoops beat Barcelona 2-1 at Celtic Park to mark their 125th anniversary in 2012. In his song You’re in My Heart, he sings: “You’re Celtic, United, but baby I’ve decided/You’re the best team I’ve ever seen”.
Paris: Teddy Riner
One of the most decorated judokas of all time, Riner describes himself as a “child of PSG”, and has rarely missed a European home game since first being exposed to the Parc des Princes. “It was in Ronaldinho’s era [2001-03],” he said. “He is still my idol.”
Also: Nicolas Sarkozy (former president)
Atlético: King Felipe VI of Spain
Aged eight, in 1976, Felipe watched on alongside his father, King Juan Carlos I, as Atlético outfought Zaragoza to win the last Copa Generalísimo final (before it became the Copa del Rey). The monarch has made no secret of his allegiance since.
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Chelsea: Will Ferrell
“I just went to one game and they gave me a scarf and then sent me a jersey,” said the Anchorman star of how he was drafted into the club’s support. “I wore the jersey a couple of times and the next thing you know I’m a massive Chelsea fan. That said, I like the colour blue.”
Also: Owen Wilson (actor), Damon Albarn (Blur singer), Morten Harket (A-Ha singer)
Qarabağ: Bahram Bagirzade
A star of one of Russian TV’s biggest 1990s comedy shows, Bagirzade grew up a Neftçi fan, but – like many fans in Azerbaijan – is backing Qarabağ on their maiden UEFA Champions League group stage campaign, explaining: “There are eight teams in the Azerbaijani top division, but all their fans support Qarabağ now.”
Roma: Monica Bellucci
The actress and model said: “I’m a Roma fan; I know Francesco Totti well.” However, Ennio Morricone may be more ardent. The Oscar-winning composer remembered: “My father insulted me badly as a kid when I said I wanted to support Lazio, but he convinced me very quickly to turn back because Roma is passion, intensity.”
Barcelona: Kobe Bryant
The former NBA star is a self-confessed Barça fan, perhaps stemming from his close friendship with ex-Los Angeles teammate Pau Gasol, but has a soft spot for AC Milan too, explaining: “If you cut my arm open, man, you’d see four colours; blue and [garnet], and then you’d see red and black.”
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Juventus: Luciano Pavarotti
The opera tenor, who passed away in 2007, was a lifelong Juventus fan. “I fell in love with Juventus when I was a kid,” he said. “I have always appreciated the noble, refined style of Juventus; that’s why they call Juve the Old Lady.”
Also: Emily Ratajkowski (actress/model), Eros Ramazzotti (singer)
Olympiacos: Mikis Theodorakis
Greece’s greatest living composer has said that football is “central to society” and has never hidden his passion for Olympiacos. “In my lifetime, I have changed my political beliefs but I will never change Olympiacos,” he said. “You are born and you die with your team colours.”
Sporting: Eric Cantona
The former Manchester United and France man has been a Sporting fan since he started taking his son to games, and was proud to have been made the club’s 150,000th member. “I love coming here,” he said. “It is an honour to be a member of this great club.”
Liverpool: Samuel L Jackson
The Hollywood actor caught the Anfield bug while filming The 51st State on Merseyside. “I had never been to a proper football game until I got to Liverpool,” explained the 68-year-old. “I spent a lot of time in the stadium singing You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
Also: Mike Myers (actor), Dr Dre (rapper), Daniel Craig (actor), Caroline Wozniacki (tennis player)
Maribor: Anže Kopitar
The Los Angeles Kings star is an outspoken Maribor fan, even though Slovenia’s top ice hockey player hails from Jesenice, on the other side of the country. He was presented with a club jersey bearing his number of choice, 11, at the 2015 domestic title celebrations at Ljudski vrt stadium.
Also: Tina Maze (skiier), Saša Vujačić (basketball player)
Sevilla: Paz Vega
The actress, who has starred in Hollywood and Spanish films, grew up in Seville and is invited into the presidential box at the Sánchez Pizjuán whenever she is back in her home city on a matchday.
Spartak Moskva: Sergei Lavrov
The Russian foreign minister is a lifelong Spartak fan, showing his colours with a red-and-white mobile phone case. “Spartak have a special spirit which, for me, reflects the spirit of Russian people, so devotion to this club is absolutely natural for me,” he said.
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Feyenoord: Dennis van der Geest
The former world judo champion has been a Feyenoord fan all his life and was the club’s official ambassador in 2005/06. “It is my club, even though I’m from Haarlem,” he said. “Everyone there supported Ajax, which automatically made me a Feyenoord fan, because that is in my nature.”
Manchester City: The Gallagher brothers
Oasis’s Liam and Noel went their seperate ways after an acrimonious split in 2009, but both remain committed to City. “The first game my dad ever took me to was City v Newcastle United at Maine Road in 1971,” said Noel. “That was it; City became my team.”
Also: Ricky Hatton (boxer)
Napoli: Paolo Sorrentino
After winning the 2014 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film with The Great Beauty, the Oscar-winning movie director gave a nod to his Partenopei hero. “Thank you to my inspirations,” he said. “Federico Fellini, Talking Heads, Martin Scorsese and Diego Armando Maradona.”
Shakhtar Donetsk: Serhiy Bubka
The pole-vaulting great has followed the Pitmen since he moving from Luhansk to Donetsk as a teenager. “Football is still in my heart and my heart has belonged to Shakhtar since 1979,” he said, and credited Mircea Lucescu for creating “one of the best teams in Europe” at Shakhtar.
Beşiktaş: Viggo Mortensen
The Lord of the Rings star watched Beşiktaş at the old İnönü Stadium while making a film nearby in 2012, and loved “the team’s attacking style of play” and “the fans”. Has he maintained his commitment to the cause? Not sure, but he still gives Beşiktaş a shout on social media occasionally.
Leipzig: Ralf Möller
The Hollywood actor, who appeared in Gladiator and TV shows like Conan the Adventurer, has given Leipzig the nod as the climbed the tables, saying: “It fascinates me that they went from fourth division to the Bundesliga in four years. I hope they can win the Bundesliga title.”
Monaco: Prince Albert
After handing the club reins to Russian owner Dmitry Rybolovlev in 2011, Prince Albert is once more enjoying his status as Monaco’s “first fan”. Once a trainee at the club, Monaco’s ruling monarch rarely misses a game, and wears his club scarf with pride in the VIP box.
Also: Novak Djoković (tennis player)
Porto: Sara Sampaio
“I am from Porto, I am from the north, and we have the best soccer team in the world,” said the model, who gladly visited the club’s official museum as she went to pick up a personalised Porto shirt the Dragons had made in her honour.
Also: Tiago Monteiro (racing driver), Belmiro de Azevedo (entrepreneur)
APOEL: John Arne Riise
The former Liverpool and Roma left-back spent just the one season in Cyprus (2014/15), but it was an exciting one, featuring UEFA Champions League games against Barcelona, Paris and Ajax as well as a domestic double. The Norwegian now keeps tabs on ‘Thrylos’ from a distance.
Also: Marios Priamos (reality TV star)
Dortmund: Helene Fischer
The Schlager singer is a passionate Yellow-Blacks fan, and honoured her promise to entertain the team (win or lose) after their 2013 Champions League final defeat. She famously irked Bayern fans by picking up a Dortmund scarf thrown to her by a fan during a gig in Munich.
Real Madrid: Rafael Nadal
His uncle, Miguel Ángel, made over 200 appearances for Barcelona, but the 16-time Grand Slam winner followed in his father’s footsteps by following Madrid. A Santiago Bernabéu regular, he was asked if he would like to become club president, replying: “You never know.”
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Tottenham: Rupert Grint
Better known as Ron Weasley from the Harry Potter films, Grint has been a regular at White Hart Lane, and said: “My great granddad had a box here once and I’ve been a Tottenham fan ever since I was born.”
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