Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have more followers on social media than the clubs they play for, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain respectively.
The Portuguese forward has some 593 million followers on his personal accounts, with the Argentine having 375 million followers in total. Messi‘s total is down due to the fact he doesn’t have a Twitter account.
The findings come from UEFA, who include social media on their yearly football benchmark report.
Ronaldo and Messi lead the way
To put into context how much following the two greatest footballers in modern football have, Manchester United have a total following of 169 million, which is way below Ronaldo.
PSG have fewer followers than United, with 133 million in total, less than half that of Messi.
As for the clubs leading the way, Real Madrid are currently the most followed club in world football, boasting 251.5 million followers in total.
Barcelona finished a close second to Real Madrid with 248 million followers, showing the clear gap between the two Spanish giants and Manchester United, as well as PSG.
Summer signings see social media soar
As well as being the most popular figures on social media, Ronaldo and Messi were subject to high-profile transfers in the summer of 2021.
Ronaldo returned to Manchester United from Juventus, whilst Messi shocked the world with his move from Barcelona to PSG.
Messi‘s move saw a 13 percent uptake in PSG social media followers from 110.5 million to 115.7 million on the day of his announcement.
This was slightly more than Ronaldo‘s three percent uptake in following which he had on Manchester United‘s social media followers from 161.1 million to 163.2 million when he was announced by the club.
Aside from having an impact on their club’s social media, the announcement images used by the players on their own accounts sent the world into hysteria.
Ronaldo‘s announcement on his Instagram account totalled 19 million likes, usurped by Messi‘s 22 million likes on his Instagram account after signing for PSG.
The reaction by fans made their posts some of the most viral social media posts in football history, a credit to their popularity.