In a report due out this Tuesday (19 May), France Football has drawn up the Top 50 most powerful people in the football world, topped by Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the President of Paris Saint-Germain Football Club and Chairman of beIN MEDIA GROUP.
In such a competitive, diverse, varied, and changing environment, France Football has boldly drawn up a list of the Top 50 most influential people in world football.
They are not necessarily the people who shout loudest or make the most fuss, but more those whose decisions carry the most weight. France Football has come up with 50 names amongst the inevitable leaders of clubs and institutions, fearsome and insatiable agents, star players with huge followings, all-powerful and all-knowing coaches, businessmen whose voices are increasingly heard and politicians who are increasingly present.
In football, Nasser Al-Khelaifi ranks at the top because of the unique reach of his influence. He is a club president (PSG), a broadcasting chairman (beIN MEDIA GROUP) with 55 million subscribers; as well as a minister without portfolio in Qatar, which will organize the next FIFA World Cup in 2022.
Nasser Al-Khelaifi is at a crossroads of influence and power games that puts him in a privileged and indispensable position. Having joined PSG nine years ago, Al-Khelaifi has managed to adapt to the codes to become accepted and join this powerful clan who rules and holds sway over international football.
It was Al-Khelaifi who kicked off PSG’s transformation into a truly international brand, illustrated by two statistics: the club has gone from selling 44,000 replica shirts in 2011 to more than a million in 2019, as well as from a digital community of 500,000 to more than 87 million today.
With this honorary distinction, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, reserved as always, did not labour the point in France Football: « Power for power’s sake – the obsessive search for the spotlight – it’s just pure vanity”.
In an interview in Tuesday’s France Football, he talked about Alex Ferguson, the former boss of Manchester United (« his know-how and passion for football are incomparable« ), Aleksander Ceferin, the UEFA boss (« a much needed unifying force for European and world football« ) or Michael Jordan, who he negotiated with for the Parisian business (« not only was he the greatest of all time on court, but he hasn’t stopped since« ).
Of all the players he met, at PSG and elsewhere, the PSG boss picks out Ibrahimovic (« he forever dependable and also stood up when needed”) and Beckham (« one of the best role models for any young boy or girl who aspires to become a professional athlete« ) among those who impressed him the most with their ability to unify and offer another dimension.
Nasser Al-Khelaïfi: « I admire Cristiano Ronaldo’s unique single-mindedness ».
Cristiano Ronaldo (« he always pushes his limits. I admire this relentless drive« ) and Gianni Infantino stand alongside Nasser Al-Khelaïfi on this influential podium.
Others on the list include major agents (Mendes, Raiola or Zahavi), politicians (Xi Jinping), several players (Messi, Neymar, Sterling, Salah, Mbappé and Rapinoe), coaches (Klopp, Guardiola and Zidane) but also business leaders from Russia, South Korea and Bahrain.
And even a golden international trophy is on the list, the Ballon d’Or FF, which almost all of the club’s 50 members dream of getting close to, directly or indirectly.
The full feature will be available in France Football on Monday in digital format and on newsstands from Tuesday.