Cristiano Ronaldo is far more than just one of the greatest footballers of all time, he’s a global brand. The Portuguese, at the time of writing, has 191 million Instagram followers. It’s a number which makes him not only the most followed footballer on the social media site but the most followed person of any kind. He is 24 million followers ahead of his closest rival, pop star Ariana Grande, who has 167 million. In terms of other footballers on the app, Ronaldo is light-years ahead of his contemporaries. Lionel Messi, Ronaldo’s nemesis, is the second-most followed athlete, the Barcelona player has 137 million followers. He is closely followed by Brazilian sensation Neymar who has 129 million. In terms of the women’s’ game, USWNT pair Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe lead the pack with 9.3 million and 2.2 million respectively.
- Megan Rapinoe – Second-most followed women’s player
- Alex Morgan – Most-followed women’s player
- Gareth Bale
- James Rodriguez
- David Beckham
- Lionel Messi
- Cristiano Ronaldo
The significance of Ronaldo’s Instagram fame is more than just for publicity reasons. He is estimated to make around $47-million per annuum through sponsored posts and endorsements. By contrast, Ronaldo – who is one of the highest paid footballers in the world – makes $34-million from his Juventus contract. Juventus themselves just 34 million Insta fans, their superstar forward dwarfs them in terms of social media presence in this respect. This is one of the main reasons Juve brought Ronaldo to Turin, to capitalise on his immense marketing value.
So, what does the great man post on his record-breaking Instagram? Well, all sorts. His most recent post was an advert for his new range of CR7 merchandise, aftershave underwear and the like. As well as commercial posts however, there are dozens if not hundreds of shots of Ronaldo in action on the field of play, both for Juventus and for Portugal. He also gives us glimpses into his family life with snaps of him and his long-term girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez and his three kids. Apart from that, Cristiano’s posts could be pictures of him and his teammates behind the scenes at Juventus or an insight into his rigorous post-match recover programme.
Although there is fierce debate as to whether Ronaldo is the greatest footballer of all-time, there can be no doubt that he has the most significance in the social media sphere. His influence means that he will continue to earn millions upon millions long after he has left the pitch. At 35, Ronaldo has been well-advised to make the most out of his fame while he still is well within the public eye. Who knows how much bigger his brand could become in the remaining years of his career? If he continues his extraordinary achievements on the pitch then he is sure to reap the rewards off it. Too.