UEFA Euro 2016: Gareth Bale is most searched-for player

Gareth Bale is the most searched-for footballer at Euro 2016, according to Bing.

The Welsh midfielder, who is the tournament’s joint top scorer so far with three goals, beat Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo and England’s Jamie Vardy to the top spot.

The findings, which cover millions of online searches in the UK, place Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea in fourth place and England captain Wayne Rooney in fifth.

In total there are five England players in the top 10 – Vardy, Rooney, Harry Kane, Joe Hart and Daniel Sturridge – and two Welshmen – Bale and Aaron Ramsey.

Will Grigg, the Northern Ireland striker, is the seventh most searched for player at Euro 2016.

Bale has emerged as one of the stars of Euro 2016 so far, helping his side finish top of Group B – which also includes England, Russia and Slovakia.

Microsoft’s search engine, which correctly predicted the outcome for all 15 knockout matches at the Brazil World Cup in 2014, expects Germany to win Euro 2016, beating Belgium in the final.

While Wales might be flying the flag on the pitch, England is leading the searches off it.

Fabia Barthez with Euro 2016 trophy

The European Championships trophy is held by former Manchester United goalkeeper Fabian Barthez

Roy Hodgson is the most searched for manager in the UK, according to Bing, taking top spot ahead of his Welsh counterpart Chris Coleman and Italy’s Antonio Conte, who will take over at Chelsea next season.

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill and Didier Deschamps, head coach of hosts France, round out the top five.

But fans aren’t just using Bing to learn more about football’s stars – their wives and girlfriends are also proving popular.

Emma Rhys-Jones, the girlfriend of Bale, tops the most-searched-for list in the UK, followed by spouses Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney.

Pre-draw pots

Football is high on the agenda for most Brits this summer, with Bing research showing that one in five thinks about the sport every hour. Around 5% has football on their mind every five minutes, and the average fan spends four hours a week reading about football.

This is having a knock-on effect at work, with 28% of male fans looking online for news about the beautiful game when they should be working.

It’s also having an impact at home, with 17% of male football fans admitting they regularly hide how much time they spend looking at match reports and news, with 40% checking it in secret. A quarter worry their partner thinks they love the sport more than them.