With football (or soccer depending on where in the world you live) being the biggest sport in the world in terms of viewers and participants, it probably should not come as a surprise to learn that the six most popular athletes on social media all play the game.
Social media has been an incredible invention since it was introduced for a variety of reasons. Many have been able to use the platforms available to share their lives and communicate with others from around the globe with ease. The platforms have also made staying up to date easier, as have being entertained.
However, many also like to use these platforms to try and gain an insight into how the rich and famous are living. While it is dependent on the user of the account, they can be a great way to get closer to people that are considered to be on an entirely different level to everyone else because of their fame or wealth.
With the money that has gone into professional sports in recent decades, some of the wealthiest individuals currently living around the globe are athletes. These are people that many wish could have been them if they were good enough to play the sport professionally, while many youngsters will look up to them as role models and people to take inspiration from.
As a result, it is no real shock that social media has been perfect for sports fans looking to get more out of the passions that they hold. Of course, some use and abuse the privileges that they get, but that is only a minority.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Cristiano Ronaldo continues to lead the way in terms of social media followers as he is the most followed. In fact, he is one of the most followed people in the world, not just among his fellow athletes. As of the end of August 2023, his accounts showed that he had 165 million fans on Facebook, 109.4 million on X (Twitter), and 603 million on Instagram.
Sports fans immediately know that once Ronaldo is spoken about, Lionel Messi’s name will quickly appear. Of course, the Argentine superstar is amongst one of the greatest to have ever played the game, and many have started to watch live sports events that involve him and his new journey in America with Inter Miami. He has already had a profound impact on the team in various ways, which is perhaps also reflected in his follower totals. He has 115 million followers on Facebook, and 485 million on Instagram. He is not on X, although Adidas has an account dedicated to him which has 3.5 million.
Having recently made a move to Saudi Arabia after joining Al Hilal, Neymar Jr is only likely going to increase his social media footprint even further. Nonetheless, the Brazilian has always been a popular figure in the game. He has 91 million Facebook followers, 62.7 million on X, and 213 million on Instagram.
One of the most famous men in the world, David Beckham also has a substantial following, despite having been retired from professional sports for a while. He does still have a huge interest in football as the owner of Inter Miami, and is part of the reason why Messi joined him there. In terms of social media, he has 57 million fans on Facebook, and 82.8 million on Insta. He does not have an X account.
A Brazilian legend, Kaka is another of the world’s most-followed athletes on social media. The former Real Madrid and AC Milan (among others) playmaker was one of the most talented with the ball at his feet, which perhaps gained him a huge following from fans worldwide. He currently has over 40 million fans on Facebook, 29.3 million on X and 22.4 million on Instagram.
Rounding off the list of the top six followed athletes on social media is another talented Brazilian who could do anything he wanted with the ball at his feet. Ronaldinho wowed football fans every time he took to the pitch, which is why he is followed so much. He has more than 55 million followers on Facebook, 21.5 million on X and 74.6 million on Instagram.