Lionel Messi may be playing for the biggest football club in the world, Lewis Hamilton may be a six time world F1 champion, Virat Kohli may be a cricket god in India and Serena William may be the ultimate sportswoman. But none of them come close to being the most talked about athlete in the world at least for the past two years.
Based purely on the followers and engagement, the undisputed king of the social media is Cristiano Ronaldo.
According to the data from Hookit’s Analytics and Valuation Platform, as of January 2020, Ronaldo has a massive 414.1 million followers in various social media platforms. In comparison Neymar, who is second in the list has 246.2 million followers with Messi in third spot with 239.7 million followers.
His social media interactions was estimated at 129.1 million for the month of January, more than double that of Neymar with 64.6 million.
He is also now the first person in the world to reach 200million Instagram followers.
Since January 2019, Ronaldo has attracted an additional 60.4 million followers. In January 2020 alone, the 34-year-old added 6.4 million new followers, double of those who had started following Kobe Bryant, who was killed in an helicopter accident recently.
Since the metric was first run in 2014, Ronaldo has had a virtual stranglehold in the rankings. The only others to have been atop the standings during the period, albeit briefly, were Neymar, Colombian footballer James Rodriguez and gamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins.
Blevins is now followed by just 43,4 million followers at number 29, his place as the most popular esport star taken over by PewDiePie in fourth spot in the list with 130.8 million followers.
Brazilian Ronaldinho may have long given up international football but is still a social media star with 104.5 million followers. Making up the rest of the top ten list are all footballers – Rodriguez (95.6m), Gareth Bale (90.4m), Mesut Ozil (81.8m), Sergio Ramos (77.3m) and Kaka (76.7m).
The most followed athletes from other sports includes Kohli (70.7m) at number 13 followed by basketball player James Lebron (68.1m), MMA’s Connor McGregor (51.1m) at number 22, boxer Floyd Mayweather (44.5m) at 28, Rafael Nadal (38.8m, 35th) and Usain Bolt (32.8m, 40th)
The Juventus and Portuguese striker is paid tens of millions by companies to pitch their products, because of his massive social presence.