Man Utd star Anthony Martial ‘more popular’ than Lionel Messi in China

Manchester United star Anthony Martial is more popular than six-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi in China, a study has shown.

Messi is one of the most recognisable figures in all sport with the Barcelona star regarded as one of the best footballers of all time.

Though it seems Martial’s Old Trafford links serve him well in the most populated country on the planet.

Former United stars Cristiano Ronaldo and David Beckham are the most popular footballers on Chinese social media, according to the Red Card report.

Neymar is in third, though Martial’s 6.6m followers sees him into fourth ahead of Barcelona ace Messi.

Ronaldo is well clear of Beckham with the Juventus star having over 15m followers compared to Beckham’s 8.72m.

Though many will be surprised to see Martial ahead of Messi in the top five.

The Frenchman will hope to improve his popularity as the Red Devils take on Arsenal in the Premier League on Saturday.

United struggled in midweek and were shocked at home by Sheffield United.

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Boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said: “You never want to lose a game to learn from it, you want to learn from the games you win.

“We’ve been terrific, we’ve been consistent, but it's that kind of season.

“We didn't expect to go through unbeaten since November 1, of course we didn’t. But we wanted to and we still want to start a new run.

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“We’ve always bounced back after defeats before. This season, we’ve done remarkably well after most of the defeats.

“There was one, we lost to Arsenal and then to Basaksehir just after. But apart from that we’ve always bounced back with a good performance.

“I expect everyone to perform well and let’s hope the result comes thereafter. You can never control the result.”

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