World Cup star Romelu Lukaku wants more footballers on social media with him, he said in a message to soccer’s top CEOs and social media executives in London on Tuesday.
In a video accompanying the invite, posted on Twitter by the Belgian footballer, Lukaku said he has more than 50 million followers on social media, more than most players.
But his digital reach is limited because he doesn’t know what his fans want to see from him, Lukaku said.
“You should know how football fans want to follow you,” he said in the seven-minute video posted Tuesday by Chelsea account managers.
“I want to meet you guys. I want to know what we’re missing as footballers, what’s going on out there.”
He also asked for his fellow players to join him.
“Footballers, how come we can’t have millions of followers?” he said. “I don’t know what you guys are doing. You guys could let me know.”
Through an intermediary, Lukaku wrote in the letter to the sporting executives, who were in London to attend the Soccerex Sport and Entertainment Convention.
He said he wants to speak with them “so that I can understand everything that’s going on and I can plan with you what I need to do, how to get the fans what they want.”
Several teams use the popular social media app Twitter and Facebook to communicate with fans. Lukaku and his Manchester United teammates, for example, have tweeted frequently about its use in the Premier League.
“I don’t want to speak too much about how I feel. But I want to take the time and speak about what I can, but also tell the fans what you guys can do, so we can have better communication between the sportsmen and you guys,” Lukaku said.
“We are the ones that earn a lot of money … and there’s a lot of money around for marketing, for sponsors. And to the sportsmen there’s a lot of power. But what we are missing is that right communication with you guys, because we are not on the same team and the fans think we aren’t on the same team.”
Soccer’s governing body, FIFA, allows players to have more than 25,000 followers on Twitter, on average. But until recently, it was difficult for athletes to challenge players with huge followings like Rihanna, Will Smith and Tom Brady for the top spot.
After years of battling under the gaze of off-field scandals, the number of top sportsmen on Twitter has been growing for several years now.
The last soccer team to top the page was Premier League champions Leicester City in 2016. The Russian federation’s 60,000-plus followers is still the biggest on the social platform.
Last season, Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who plays for Chelsea, led FIFA’s all-time list of most-followed players with some 55 million followers.