Cristiano Ronaldo named most powerful player on Instagram at 2022 World Cup

Jadon Sancho

Cristiano Ronaldo leads Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe as the most influential footballer on Instagram due to play at the 2022 World Cup.

Portugal forward Ronaldo had a 48% increase in followers in the past year.

He averages more than $3.5m in media value per post, according to analysts Nielsen Gracenote.

Manchester United team-mate Jadon Sancho is the most influential English player, while Gavi is the breakthrough star with a 5,165% growth in followers.

Rankings are based on Nielsen’s influencer measurement tool, which evaluates total followers, follower growth, engagement rate and average brand value per post on Instagram to give a media value total.

It ranked the players who are expected to feature at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Ronaldo has 480 million followers on Instagram, while Argentina’s Messi is followed by 360 million people – a 38% growth in the past 12 months – and produces $2.6m of media value per post.

The Paris St-Germain attacking trio of Messi, Neymar and Mbappe rank second, third and fourth respectively behind Ronaldo, each averaging more than $1m per post.

Of the top 10, Brazil’s Vinicius Junior had the biggest growth in following of any player with a 90% increase, having scored the winner in the Champions League final for Real Madrid against Liverpool.

France’s N’Golo Kante ranks eighth in the list and has the highest engagement rate of any player in the top 10 with his posts, at 11%.

The next big social media star looks to be Spain’s Gavi, whose following has shot up by more than 5000% to 6.2 million. His posts have an engagement rate of nearly 30%.

Brazil’s Raphinha and Antony are second and third in the breakthrough footballer standings with huge growth in their follower numbers after summer moves to Barcelona and Manchester United respectively.

Meanwhile, France are likely to be the most influential team on social media at the 2022 World Cup, with 11.7 million followers on their official page.

This edges out Brazil and Portugal, who have 11.3 million and 10.3 million respectively. Notably, 86% of Portugal’s followers live outside the European country.

England are fourth with 8.5m followers. Of their players, winger Sancho is the most influential – he has 8.9 million followers, an increase in 21% over the past year, while he has a healthy 8% engagement rate on posts.

Several young English players have had notable breakthroughs on social media, including Jack Grealish who now has more than five million followers, and Aaron Ramsdale, whose following has exploded by a remarkable 920% over the past 12 months after joining Arsenal.

Player Country Club Handle Followers (m) Value per post
Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal Man Utd cristiano 480 $3,585,218
Lionel Messi Argentina PSG leomessi 360 $2,631,388
Neymar Brazil PSG neymarjr 178 $1,152,495
Kylian Mbappe France PSG k.mbappe 72.5 $1,173,157
Vinicius Junior Brazil Real Madrid vinijr 23 $685,120
Karim Benzema France Real Madrid karimbenzema 58 $489,239
Paulo Dybala Argentina Roma paulodybala 49 $491,547
N’Golo Kante France Chelsea nglkante 14 $525,178
Paul Pogba France Juventus paulpogba 55 $407,542
Sergio Ramos Spain PSG sergioramos 53 $368,639
Player Country Club Handle Followers (m) Value per post
Gavi Spain Barcelona pablogavi 6.2 $377,305
Raphinha Brazil Barcelona raphinha 3 $22,727
Antony Brazil Man Utd antony00 4.8 $106,229
Pedri Spain Barcelona pedri 7.3 $255,212
Rodrigo de Paul Argentina Atletico Madrid rodridepaul 5 $206,983
Rodrygo Brazil Real Madrid rodrygogoes 7.5 $119,726
Aurelien Tchouameni France Real Madrid aurelientchm17 2.1 $80,973
Achraf Hakimi Morocco PSG achrafhakimi 10.1 $133,187
Dusan Vlahovic Serbia Juventus vlahovicdusan 1.7 $118,691
Darwin Nunez Uruguay Liverpool darwin_n9 2.1 $14,527
Country Handle Followers (m) % fans outside country
France equipedefrance 11.7 64.85
Brazil cbf_futebol 11.5 35.73
Portugal portugal 10.4 86.41
England england 8.5 79.47
Argentina afaseleccion 7.3 54.75
Mexico miseleccionmx 5.9 47.46
Germany dfb_team 4.9 72.84
Spain sefutbol 4 75.71
Morocco equipedumaroc 1.5 33.66
Netherlands onsoranje 1.3 72.67
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