Social media has started playing a huge role in expanding any athlete’s brand in modern times. The top sportspersons in the world have all taken to some form of social media, be it Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, to reach out to their respective fan bases.
Here, we look at the 10 most followed sportspersons on the three most prominent social media platforms.
Instagram – 121 million
Facebook – 122 million
Twitter – 70 million
The Real Madrid and Portugal superstar remains the most widely followed athlete on social media, dwarfing all competition by a country mile. The five-time FIFA Ballon d’Or winner’s continued success at the top has contributed largely to his massive following and he, along with Lionel Messi, remains the face of the most popular sport in the world.
Instagram – 90 million
Facebook – 60 million
Twitter – 38 million
The Brazilian prodigy had always been a star attraction during his time at Barcelona. His record move to Paris Saint-Germain in the previous summer has only increased his social media imprint, so much so that he is now the second most popular sportsperson. Neymar remains poised to take over the mantle of the world’s best footballer from Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi and expect his social media following to only increase.
Instagram – 35 million
Facebook – 23 million
Twitter – 40 million
James is flying the NBA flag high in this list with his humongous following. The Cleveland Cavaliers star and four-time NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) remains one of the most recognisable names in basketball and it is no surprise to see him feature at the upper-half of the list.
Instagram – 87 million
Facebook – Not on platform
Twitter – Not on platform
The Barcelona and Argentine magician features at the fourth spot only due to his reluctance to join the Twitter and Facebook bandwagon. His Instagram following remains second only to Ronaldo’s. He will be the face of Barcelona for some time to come and remains arguably, the best player to have graced the world of football.
Instagram – 35 million
Facebook – 32 million
Twitter – 16 million
The Colombian footballer has always done well when it comes to social media following. He remains one the biggest names to emerge from his country and his move to Real Madrid helped cement that legacy.
Now plying his trade with Bundesliga behemoths Bayern Munich, James is the third most popular South American footballer on the list.
Instagram – 19 million
Facebook – 37 million
Twitter – 24 million
The India skipper has been rapidly climbing on this list and has now overtaken Sachin Tendulkar to become the most followed cricketer on social media. At the pinnacle of his game, Kohli is redefining cricket stardom with his ultra-loyal set of supporters and with the backing of the second most populous country in the world, this star is only going to get bigger with coming times.
Instagram – 32 million
Facebook – 28 million
Twitter – 16 million
The Welsh and Real Madrid winger’s popularity on social media is nothing to be scoffed at. His move to Real Madrid from Tottenham has seen him lift three UEFA Champions League titles among countless other trophies. He remains the most widely followed British sportsperson, even ahead of the likes of Wayne Rooney.
Instagram – 21 million
Facebook – 26 million
Twitter – 21 million
The Barcelona midfield wizard might be approaching the twilight of his career but his social media following remains top notch. The four times winner of the UEFA Champions League and World Cup winner with Spain is one of the most revered footballers on the planet and will continue to do so in the future.
Instagram – 31 million
Facebook – 15 million
Twitter – 21 million
The German midfielder retains a loyal following from his trophy-laden days at Real Madrid and his move to Arsenal has only helped increase that popularity. The World Cup winner with Germany is the highest ranked Premier League player on the list.
Instagram – 12 million
Facebook – 24 million
Twitter – 17 million
Rooney might be in decline and back to his boyhood club Everton, but that does not stop England and Manchester United’s top-scorer to feature on the list. Having remained synonymous with Manchester United for over a decade, Rooney has always been the most recognisable names from England and he still remains a hugely followed figure in Asia.
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson may have to miss the second one-day international against England because of a “mild hamstring strain”.
Coach Mike Hesson has confirmed Williamson’s participation is in doubt at the Bay Oval on Wednesday, when Tim Southee will take over the captaincy if necessary and rookie middle-order batsman Mark Chapman has been brought in as cover.
The Kiwis still hope to have Williamson in charge, however, as they seek to go take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series with a national record-equalling 10th successive victory in this format.
Hesson said: “Kane has a mild hamstring strain. He’ll have to prove his fitness… make sure he’s 100%.
“We are optimistic he’ll be fine, but we aren’t sure.”
Chapman is uncapped by New Zealand in 50-over cricket, but featured against England in this month’s Twenty20 Tri-series. Nonetheless, Williamson’s are big boots to fill.
“It would be a big blow,” added Hesson.
“Kane is a high-quality player, but we have to have confidence in our squad as well.
“There’ll be some minor adjustments. But during the year, when Kane hasn’t played, we’ve been able to put in a performance.
“So it won’t be an excuse.”
He has faith in Williamson’s deputy, who after just two ODIs for his native Hong Kong against United Arab Emirates in 2015 has an average of 151 and strike rate of 100.
“We always want to Kane to play… he’s a quality leader,” said Hesson.
“But your side has to be good enough to deal with things from time to time.
“Chappy isn’t coming in for his first game – he’s played against these guys a week or so ago.”
New Zealand wicketkeeper Tom Latham has spelled out, meanwhile, the challenge facing the hosts to stay a step ahead of England.
Latham’s half-century in Hamilton was a key contribution as the Kiwis went 1-0 up on Sunday.
But he said: “We know how strong England are.
“They won’t lie down – they’ll come back even stronger.”
Durham have signed South Africa opener Aiden Markram for the beginning of the county season and appointed New Zealand batsman Tom Latham as their captain in the Royal London One-Day Cup.
Markram has made a bright start to his international career after registering two centuries in his opening six Tests while he stood in as skipper for the Proteas in their recent one-day series against India following an injury to Faf du Plessis.
He will bolster Durham’s batting for the first four matches of their Specsavers County Championship campaign before being replaced by fellow overseas signing Latham for the remainder of the year.
The 25-year-old Latham, who has earned 34 Test, 70 ODI and 13 Twenty20 caps for the Black Caps, had a successful stint with Durham last year and his return had already been pencilled in, but the north-east county announced he would take the reins in the 50-over format following Keaton Jennings’ departure to Lancashire.
Durham chairman Sir Ian Botham said: “We’re delighted to have both Aiden and Tom at Emirates Riverside this season and I am confident they will both contribute to what we hope will be a successful season.
— Durham CCC 🏏 (@DurhamCricket) February 26, 2018
“Aiden offers confidence and maturity at the top of the batting order and despite being just 23 years old, he has already been recognised by South Africa as a leader in the dressing room.
“It’s great news that we will have Aiden at the beginning of our championship campaign, especially with Tom Latham, Ben Stokes and Mark Wood all missing due to their international and IPL commitments.
“We’re delighted to welcome Tom back to Chester-le-Street and I’m excited to see him captain the RL50; he has a wealth of international experience and brings exceptional batting, fielding and leadership skills into the dressing room.”
Provided by Press Association Sport