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Injury Talk Dominates pre-World Cup Player Buzz
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Injury Talk Dominates pre-World Cup Player Buzz

As the planet awaits the world’s biggest single sporting event, most of the pre-tournament World Cup Buzz is focused around the players who won’t be taking part or could be missing out. The Nielsen Company analyzed English-language online blogs, message boards and social networking sites and found that pre-World Cup player buzz was dominated by injuries.

The study revealed that, in the week ending June 7, England captain Rio Ferdinand and Ivory Coast captain Didier Drogba were the two most buzzed about players. Ferdinand is out of the tournament due to knee ligament damage sustained in a training session while, on the same day, Drogba broke his arm in a warm up game. He was considered a serious doubt to play but now looks like playing some part.

Other injured players featuring prominently in pre-World Cup discussions included global icon David Beckham (1.9%), who was ruled out of the tournament in March, and Holland’s Arjen Robben (1.6%) who, like Drogba, was also injured in a warm-up game. Robben is still a major doubt to play.

The most buzzed about player not injured was English forward Wayne Rooney. Much of the discussions around Rooney were driven by his leading role in the global “Write the Future” advertising campaign from sports shoe and apparel company Nike.

The most buzzed about player in the US squad was Landon Donovan, the USA’s player of the year for the last three years. Donovan was followed by Jozy Altidore, who also played in the English Premier League this year, and Edson Buddle, the leading scorer in Major League Soccer.

In terms of players from countries where English is not the primary language, global superstars Lionel Messi (1.4%) from Argentina and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo (1.1%), both fit to play, were the most buzzed about players behind Drogba and Robben.

MOST BUZZED ABOUT WORLD CUP PLAYERS* FROM COUNTRIES WHERE ENGLISH ISN’T PRIMARY LANGUAGE
Rank Player % of all Selected Player Buzz* Notable Reason Country
1 Didier Drogba 3.40% Injury Ivory Coast
2 Arjen Robben 1.60% Injury Holland
3 Lionel Messi 1.40% Star Player Argentina
4 Cristiano Ronaldo 1.10% Star Player Portugal
5 Xavi 1.00% Star Player Spain
6 John Obi Mikel 1.00% Injury Ghana
7 Fernando Torres 0.90% Star Player Spain
8 Thierry Henry 0.80% Star Player France
9 Michael Ballack 0.80% Injury Germany
10 David Villa 0.80% Star Player / Transfer Spain
11 Michael Essien 0.70% Injury Ghana
12 Cesc Fabregas 0.70% Star Player / Transfer Spain
13 Andrea Pirlo 0.70% Injury Italy
14 Benni McCarthy 0.60% Not selected South Africa
15 Iker Casillas 0.50% Star Player Spain
Source: The Nielsen Company

*Share of online buzz, in English language messages, across 345 leading players related to the 2010 World Cup squads – week ending June 7, 2010

Nielsen’s study, conducted the week ending June 7th 2010, looked at English language World Cup-related messages on blogs, message boards, groups, video and image sites – including Flickr, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter – that mentioned at least one of 345 leading players related to the 2010 Squads.

Nielsen’s study, conducted the week ending June 7th 2010, looked at English language World Cup-related messages on blogs, message boards, groups, video and image sites – including Flickr, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter – that mentioned at least one of 345 leading players related to the 2010 Squads.

Both Messi and Ronaldo have featured prominently in advertising campaigns for major global brands that have generated large amounts of World Cup buzz – despite not being officially affiliated to the event. Messi appeared in Pepsi’s “Oh Africa” ad while Ronaldo also featured in the Nike campaign alongside Rooney and Drogba.