Cristiano’s social following continues to grow, while Neymar has overtaken Messi in the standings, but who else makes the top 25?
Ask three football fans who the best player in the world is and there’s a decent chance you’ll get three different answers.
What is harder to argue against, though, is Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo’s status as the most popular footballer on the planet.
That is evidenced in Ronaldo’s incredible social-media presence, where he boasts a total follower count across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram of over 313 million.
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The Real forward is by far the most popular player on Instagram, where photos of his daily life have attracted over 121 million followers as of March 2018.
That puts him 31 million ahead of his nearest competitor Neymar, who has shot ahead of Lionel Messi on the back of his world-record move to PSG.
Messi is less than two million followers behind Neymar but after that there is a huge gulf to the next player, with ex-Manchester United star David Beckham over 45 million fans adrift of the Argentine.
Ronaldinho (30 million) is the only retired player to come close to Beckham (43 million) on Instagram, with Zinedine Zidane (16 million) also featuring further down the top 25. Robert Lewandowski (12 million) narrowly misses out, while Luka Modric is just short of 10 million.
The most popular active British player is Ronaldo’s Madrid team-mate Gareth Bale (33 million) by a comfortable margin.
The most talented young players in the world, meanwhile, have a long way to go before they compete with the established superstars.
Kylian Mbappe (7 million), Gabriel Jesus (six million), Ousmane Dembele, Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford (all four million) and Dele Alli (three million) are not anywhere near the top 25 at the moment.