Cristiano Ronaldo emerged as the most powerful player on Instagram in the 2022 World Cup

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are set to compete in their fifth match the world Cup later this year in Qatar and it will be their last appearance on the global stage. But Ronaldo already seems to have surpassed his detractors after the Portuguese star was named the most influential footballer on Instagram ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

According to a ranking shared by analysts Nielsen Sports, Ronaldo’s Instagram followers have increased by 47 percent over the past year. It averages more than $3.5 million in media value per post.

The rankings were published to assess the Instagram followings of global football players and countries participating in the Qatar World Cup. The rankings were announced based on Instagram measurements taken from August 2021 to July 2022.

With an estimated 480 million followers on Instagram, Ronaldo appears to be the most followed footballer on the social media platform. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner recently scored his first goal of the new season during Manchester United’s Europa League match against Sheriff Tiraspol.

Lionel Messi, with a whopping follower count of around 360 million, claims second place in the standings. The Argentina striker, who has experienced a 38 percent increase in Instagram followers over the past year, generates a media value of $2.6 million per post.

Neymar and Kylian Mbappe are third and fourth respectively in the ranking. Among the top 10 players on the list, Real Madrid’s Vinicius Jr. experienced the biggest growth in Instagram following. The 22-year-old Brazilian striker’s Instagram following has grown by 90 percent in the past 12 months.

Spanish midfielder Gavi has emerged as one of the World Cup’s most powerful Instagram influencers. The 18-year-old Barcelona footballer’s Instagram account has seen an impressive growth rate of 5,165 percent in the last one year. The teenager has donned the Barcelona jersey 55 times and found the back of the net twice.

World champions France are currently the most powerful national football team on Instagram, according to Nielsen. Les Bleus has approximately 11.7 million followers. The Brazilian football team, with about 11.5 million followers on Instagram, is second in the ranking.

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