Worldwide fame, skyrocketing salaries, and millions of fans: The greatest sports stars of the world live a lifestyle most people can only dream of. Their fans do not only cheer for their exceptional performance during matches, but also support their idols on Instagram.
1 Cristiano Rolando (113.8m)
Cristiano Ronaldo is not only FIFA’s 2017 best male player but also the undisputed no 1 on Instagram.
As all-time top goal scorer for Real Madrid and captain of the Portugal national team, Cristiano not only comes first of all sports stars, but ranks number 4 of all Instagram users worldwide. Only Instagram itself, Selena Gomez, and Ariana Grande count even more followers than him.
Using InfluencerDB’s Target Group Analysis for audience quality, we dug around to better understand how he and his sports compatriots perform on Instagram. We all know that Cristiano’s salary is insanely high – and so is his media value per post. With an average of $586,616 per post, his equivalent advertising value exceeds all other sports stars in our list.
2 Neymar (83.1m)
Forwards seem to be extremely popular as our second position shows. Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, forward for French club Saint-Germain, is currently in the news due to special privileges the soccer star enjoys in his club.
His followers don’t mind, on the contrary: his audience’s engagement is extreme. His followers give him an average of 87,159 comments per post, bringing his rank to second among sports stars.
3 Lionel Messi (82.3m)
Following closely on Neymar’s heels is Leo Messi. While Messi is Ronaldo’s biggest competitor for the FIFA award – both have won five times already – he clearly comes in second against him when it comes to Instagram fame.
Both sports stars fill their Instagram channel with training shots and cute pictures of their families. And who knows, with a growth of 2.06%, Messi might even outrun Ronaldo one day.
4 David Beckham (40.6m)
With only half as many followers as Messi, David Beckham ranks number 4 of our list.
Although he’s not an active player any more, the former professional soccer player still manages to attract followers.
And these are apparently not only soccer-interested men. 41.5% of his audience is female – more than any other of the sports stars in this list manages to attract.
5 James Rodriguez (33.4m)
James David Rodríguez Rubio plays for German club Bayern Munich and captains the Colombia national team. With a like-follower ratio of 2.9% and 5,507 comments per post on average, James’ followers love to engage with his content.
His most liked picture (1,818,063 likes) shows him holding the trophy after winning the Champions League with his former club, Real Madrid, this year.
6 LeBron James (33.3m)
The first and only non-soccer player making this list is NBA star LeBron James. His Instagram handle kingjames says it all. The player for Cleveland played his 772nd game as a Cavalier this week. With 54.1% of his followers being from the United States, his support at home is unquestioned.
LeBron James frequently mentions other sports stars like Tristan Thompson and J.R. Smith on his Instagram channel, strengthening his network.
7 Gareth Bale (31.6m)
Now, back to soccer (sorry, our hands are tied – we only report the data!). Gareth Bale, winger for Real Madrid and player in the Wales national team, has an extremely diverse audience on Instagram.
Due to his engagement for the Spanish club, 12.5% of his followers are Spanish, and the rest is spread all over the world.
8 Zlatan Ibrahimovic (28.4m)
Swedish soccer player Zlatan Ibrahimovic plays as a forward for Manchester United and captained the Sweden national team for six years. He is said to earn $31,694 per week and makes even more by cooperating with brands like Nike and Volvo. And he even has his own arcade sports game Zlatan Legends!
In addition to his soccer fame, Ibrahimovic is famous for his brazen statements – an attitude he also shows on his Instagram channel. His almost 30 million followers definitely seem to like it!
9 Ronaldinho (27.1m)
His actual name is Ronaldo de Assis Moreira but he is more commonly known as Ronaldinho and ranks number 9. The Brazilian soccer star plays for FC Barcelona and the Brazilian national team.
In 2005, a video of his cooperation with Nike was the first film to reach one million views on YouTube! And although he is rather at the end of our list, he has the highest growth rate of all players in this top 10. With a growth of 2.57%, he could well outrun Ibrahimovic.
10 Luis Suarez (25m)
Uruguayan soccer player Suarez serves as a striker for Spanish Club FC Barcelona and the Uruguay national team. He frequently mentions other players like Neymar and Messi on his channel, and with 2,446 comments per post on average, the engagement of his fans is strong.
Apart from his great success as a professional soccer player, Suarez gained infamy for repeatedly sinking his teeth into his opponents. His followers, however, don’t seem to mind, since he’s been able to rack up 25 million fans on Instagram.