By Sportgister Ng
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 Sports.
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.