Cristiano Ronaldo continues to be the most popular Premier League footballer on Instagram, with over 405 million followers.
Indeed, the Portuguese icon is the most followed person on the planet, with only Instagram’s official account having more followers (475m).
To put Ronaldo’s amazing score into context, he has more Instagram followers than the rest of the Premier League’s top 20 list combined (322.6m).
Manchester United has seven players in the top 20, including Paul Pogba (51.8m), Raphael Varane (18m), David de Gea (12.7m), Marcus Rashford (12.6m), Edinson Cavani (9.5m), and Jesse Lingard (9.3m).
The Red Devils have the most followers on Instagram of any Premier League club, at 55.4 million.
Tottenham, on the other hand, has only 12.1 million followers, about the same as their hero Harry Kane.
Liverpool isn’t far behind their rivals United, who have 36 million followers, and Chelsea, who have 32.5 million.
Manchester City (29.5 million) and Arsenal (29.5 million) round out the rest of the so-called “Big Six” (21.2m). Brentford, on the other hand, has only 249,000 followers.
Mohamed Salah is third on the list with 48.1 million followers, followed by Roberto Firmino (13.1 million), Virgil van Dijk (11.2 million), Sadio Mane (10 million), and Thiago Alcantara (8.3 million).
Former Liverpool player Phillippe Coutinho is also on the list, with 24.2 million followers, despite the fact that his current club, Aston Villa, has only 1.8 million.
There are four Brazilians in the top 20, with Thiago Silva (18.7m) and Gabriel Jesus (16.3m) joining Firmino and Coutinho.
Jesus is Man City’s most-followed player, but just slightly. Kevin De Bruyne has 16.2 million followers, whereas Raheem Sterling has 9 million.
N’Golo Kante (12.8m) of Chelsea and Romelu Lukaku (12.8m) of Manchester United are the final two players on the list (8.7m).
It’s critical for players to establish a presence on Instagram because the social media network can generate a significant amount of income.
According to BBC Sport, Ronaldo earned more than £41 million on Instagram alone in the year running up to June 2020. He also has 97.8 million Twitter followers and 128 million Facebook likes.
Many Premier League footballers hire professionals to manage their social media accounts.
“Some of them have these huge plans on rebuilding the player’s brand and, I guess, commercializing practically everything they do in some ways,” said Sam Jordan, Crystal Palace’s social media manager from 2015 to 2019.
“Others are far more aware of it as a tool for engaging fans.”
Footballers make blunders on social media all the time. In 2011, Wayne Rooney famously tweeted, “Hi Rio, do you want to pick up in the morning pal [sic]?”
In 2016, Victor Anichebe tweeted: “Could you please post something along the lines of Incredible support yesterday and a fantastic effort by the fellas! It’s a difficult outcome to accept! But here we are again!”
Gary Neville has slammed athletes who hire professionals to manage their accounts.
“They need to fire their PR staff, speak with some authenticity, and get on with it,” United legend Sir Alex Ferguson tweeted last September.
“They’ve all got these public relations managers who are inventing characters that don’t exist.”
Neville is one of the most popular experts on Instagram, with 1.5 million followers, while Sky Sports colleague Jamie Carragher has 1.6 million.
Roy Keane’s Instagram account is another popular one. The former Manchester United captain has 2 million Instagram followers, which are managed by his daughter.
“My youngest daughter goes, ‘Listen, Dad, we’re in lockdown, can you do it for a laugh?'” Keane recounted last year.
“Sitting at the kitchen table with my 16-year-old daughter, I said, “Come on yeah, let’s do it for a joke.”
“It’s my daughter, but I’ve had people ask me, ‘Who’s on your team?’ ‘Where does your teamwork?’ and I asked, ‘Where’s my team?’ as if I had one.
“And I thought, ‘Well, I have a staff operating in New York and London.’ It’s only me and my 16-year-old daughter, who serves as CEO.”
Most followed Premier League stars on Instagram
- Cristiano Ronaldo – Manchester United – 405million
- Paul Pogba – Manchester United – 51.8m
- Mohamed Salah – Liverpool – 48.1m
- Philippe Coutinho – Aston Villa (on loan from Barcelona) – 24.2m
- Thiago Silva – Chelsea – 18.7m
- Raphael Varane – Manchester United – 18m
- Gabriel Jesus – Manchester City – 16.3m
- Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City – 16.2m
- Roberto Firmino – Liverpool – 13.1m
- N’Golo Kante – Chelsea – 12.8m
- David de Gea – Manchester United – 12.7m
- Marcus Rashford – Manchester United – 12.6m
- Harry Kane – Tottenham Hotspur – 12.1m
- Virgil van Dijk – Liverpool – 11.2m
- Sadio Mane – Liverpool – 10m
- Edinson Cavani – Manchester United – 9.5m
- Jesse Lingard – Manchester United – 9.3m
- Raheem Sterling – Manchester City – 9m
- Romelu Lukaku – Chelsea – 8.7m
- Thiago Alcantara – Liverpool – 8.3m
Figures correct as of February 24, 2022