Sports, as a form of entertainment, are hugely popular, and there are millions and millions of people all over the world who are ardent fans of sports. Athletes are stars to these fans, and they have been followed and emulated by the world, who have always been curious about their personal lives, and how these sports stars are outside the field. Earlier, the only available source for these were the media, like newspapers, television, magazines, etc., where interviews, gossip, photographs, etc. of the players would be published. Many fans are known to keep a collection of newspaper or magazine cut-outs of their favorite players. And, many follow the most popular athletes on Social Media.
10 Most Popular Athletes on Social Media
But, times have changed, and athletes, like other celebrities, have realized the power of social media networks, where they can easily present a part of their personal or social lives to the people. Almost every athlete has a profile on popular sites like Facebook and Twitter, and as it is expected, have tons of followers. Let us take a look at 10 Most Popular Athletes on Social Media.
10. Michael Jordan
FaceBook Fanbase: 27.7 Million Twitter Fanbase: 3.67 Million
Michael Jeffrey Jordan, better known as just Michael Jordan or by his initials MJ, is a former American basketball player who was born on February 17, 1963, and is also known as an entrepreneur and chairman and principal owner of the Charlotte Hornets. Jordan spent 15 seasons in the National Basketball Association with the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards. His own website states, “By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time.”
Jordan is also known by his nicknames “Air Jordan” and “His Airness”. He was inducted in the All-NBA First Team ten times, All-Defensive First Team nine times, and also achieved the Most Valuable Player Awards five times and received the All-Star Game MVP Awards thrice. Jordan was honored as the Business Person of the Year for 2014 by the Charlotte Business Journal on January 20, 2015. He currently has 3.65 million followers on Twitter.
9. Mesut Ozil
FaceBook Fanbase: 31.3 Million Twitter Fanbase: 23.7 Million
Mesut Özil is a German national soccer team member who was born on 15 October 1988, and currently plays for the English club Arsenal. He has been on the German youth national team member since 2006 and was included in the German national team in 2009. He first achieved international reputation when he was nominated for the Golden Ball Award in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Özil ranked first in assists with 25 assists in Major European and domestic competitions in 2011.
He ranked first in assists with 17 assists in La Liga in 2012. He was also the top assist with three assists in both the tournament of the 2010 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2012. Mesut Ozil received the Bambi award as the most successful German athlete in 2010. He currently has 31 million followers on Facebook and 23.6 million followers on Twitter.
8. Ronaldinho Gaucho
FaceBook Fanbase: 34 Million Twitter Fanbase: 18.3 Million
Next on Popular Athletes on Social Media, Ronaldo de Assis Moreira, better known as Ronaldinho Gaucho or just Ronaldinho, is a former Brazilian national soccer team member who was born on 21 March 1980, and currently plays for Mexican club Querétaro as an attacking midfielder or forward. He received the FIFA World Player of the Year award twice consecutively in 2004 and 2005. Ronaldinho scored 33 goals in his 97 appearances for the Brazil national football team and was a part of the victorious World Cup squad of Brazilian national team in 2002.
He was also inducted in the FIFA World Cup All-Star Team on the same year. Ronaldinho was listed in the FIFA 100 compiled by Pelé and inducted in the FIFPro World XI thrice consecutively from 2005 to 2007. Ronaldinho currently has 34 million followers on Facebook and 18.2 million followers on Twitter which made his online fan base of 52.2 million.
7. Ricardo Kaka
FaceBook Fanbase: 31 Million Twitter Fanbase: 29 Million
Football fans still consider Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite AKA Kaka as one of the most handsome footballers in the world. He joined Milan in 2003 for a transfer fee of €8.5 million. Kaká then joined Real Madrid for a transfer fee of €65 million. He again made his comeback in Milan in 2013 after he spent four years in Spain. Kaka last played for Orlando City of MLS as an attacking midfielder.
Kaká also helped the Brazilian national team to lift the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Time Magazine twice inducted him on its list of the world’s most influential people in 2008 and 2009. He also became the first athlete to get 10 million followers on Twitter. Kaka currently has 31 million followers on Facebook. Besides, he also has 29 million followers on Twitter which made his online fan base of 60 million.
6. John Cena
FaceBook Fanbase: 45 Million Twitter Fanbase: 11.5 Million
American professional wrestler John Cena currently works for WWE. Besides, he has also earned praises as a rapper and actor. Cena served his duty as the franchise player of World Wrestling Entertainment since 2005. He achieved WWE World Heavyweight Championship a record 12 times and WWE United States Championship three times. Besides, he also became the Tag Team Champion four times. Cena won the Royal Rumble twice and became the winner of the Money in the Bank ladder match in 2012.
His fans know Cena as an avid supporter of the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Tampa Bay Rays. Besides, he also supports the English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur. Media notes him as a muscle car collector with more than 20 one-of-a-kind cars in his collection. Besides, he has also earned his place among the richest wrestlers in the world right now. Cena currently has 45 million followers on Facebook. He also has 11.5 million followers on Twitter which made his total online fan base of 56.6 million.
5. Dwayne Johnson
Positive influence on people’s lives is the greatest (and most powerful) strength one could ever have.— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) April 17, 2019
Thank you to @TIME & to my one & only boss – the people. Our connection will always remind me that it’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.
Cheers 🥃~DJ pic.twitter.com/RK5g72Gm2q
FaceBook Fanbase: 58 Million Twitter Fanbase: 13.1 Million
Dwayne Douglas Johnson, better known by his ring name The Rock, has earned his place among the greatest American wrestlers through his talent and skills. He started his career as the college footballer of the University of Miami. He also won a national championship for the Miami Hurricanes football team in 1991. Besides, he played for the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League. He first appeared in the world of wrestling with the name “Rocky Maivia”. Later, he became popular as “The Rock” during his work in the World Wrestling Federation from 1996 to 2004.
Dwayne Johnson first appeared in the leading role in The Scorpion King in 2002. And for that role, he has received $5.5 million pay which helped him to set the world record in his debut role. Rock currently has 58 million followers on Facebook and 13.1 million followers on Twitter. And, that sums up a total of his 71.1 million online fan base.
4. David Beckham
FaceBook Fanbase: 54 Million Twitter Fanbase: -N/A-
Fans still note David Beckham as one of the most stylish English footballers. He played for several reputed clubs such as Manchester United, Preston North End, Real Madrid, Milan, LA Galaxy, Paris Saint-Germain. He holds the title among popular athletes on social media with numerous soccer records. Besides, he also captained the English national soccer team. Moreover, he became the first English footballer ever to achieve league titles in four different countries, England, Spain, America and France.
He played his final game as a professional footballer on 18 May 2013. FIFA inducted him on their 100 world’s greatest living players list in 2004. Simpson also described him as “the biggest metrosexual in Britain” in an article published on Salon.com in 2002. Beckham currently has 54 million dedicated followers on Facebook.
FaceBook Fanbase: 60 Million Twitter Fanbase: 41.5 Million
Brazilian professional footballer Neymar Jr. currently plays for the French club Paris Saint-Germain as a forward. Besides, he also captains the Brazil national soccer team. He has achieved the South American Footballer of the Year award at the age of just 19 in 2011. He again achieved that award in 2012. Besides, he also won the FIFA Puskás Award for Goal of the Year in 2011.
He has appeared on the cover of Time Magazine in February 2013. And by doing so, he became the first Brazilian athlete to be honored by Time Magazine. SportsPro magazine also named him the most marketable athlete on the planet in May 2013. Neymar currently has 60 million followers on Facebook. Besides, he also has 41.5 million followers on Twitter which made his online fan base of 101.5 million.
2. Lionel Messi
FaceBook Fanbase: 89 Million Twitter Fanbase: -N/A-
One of the greatest footballers of all time, Lionel Messi, currently plays for the Spanish club FC Barcelona. Besides, he also plays as a forward and captains the Argentina national soccer team. He has achieved his first Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year nominations at the age of just 21. He then won his first Ballon d’Or in 2009. Messi has achieved the FIFA Ballon d’Or thrice consecutively from 2010 to 2012. He then also achieved the award in 2015.
Time Magazine named him twice in their annual list of the most influential people in the world in 2011 and 2012. Messi now holds the second place in the highest-paid athletes’ list with $84 million salaries and $27 million worth of endorsements. His Facebook page had more than six million followers within a few hours after its launch in April 2011. He currently has 89 million followers on Facebook.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo
FaceBook Fanbase: 122.5 Million Twitter Fanbase: 76.4 Million
Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro, better known as just Cristiano Ronaldo, has marked his spot as one of the greatest footballers of all time. He currently plays for the Italian side Juventus FC besides captaining the Portuguese national soccer team. He has earned his first-ever Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year nominations at the age of just 22. Cristiano achieved his first Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards in 2008. He also achieved that award in 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2017.
He now holds the third place in the list of highest-paid athletes in the world. And, he holds that place with $108 million earning according to the recently published statistics by Forbes. Cristiano currently has 122 million followers on Facebook and 75.8 million followers on Twitter. And, that made his online fan base of 197.8 million.
The athletes on their social pages share their photographs of events, new styles they are adopting, etc., as well as their thoughts, some big events in their lives, and many such things. This way, they can interact with the fans more regularly, and this only makes them even more popular.