When it comes to popularity, soccer dwarfs all other sports across the world. Just look at the top online betting sites such as Sports Interaction. While they might offer wagering on two or three hockey or basketball leagues, when it comes to soccer. There will literally be dozens of options to choose from and hundreds of potential bets to be played. Fans are always curious to get a sneak peak into lives of athletes on Instagram.
The world of social media also opens up a window into the vast global popularity of those who dribble a soccer ball for a living. For instance, of the 10 most followed athletes on Instagram, eight are soccer players.
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Cristiano Ronaldo (278.8 million followers)
The Portuguese international led Serie A in goals this season, netting 29 times in 33 matches for Juventus. However, a recent post by Ronaldo, 36, to his Instagram account has convinced supporters that their star is looking to move elsewhere during the summer transfer window.
“This year we couldn’t win Serie A, congratulations to Inter for the well deserved title,” Ronaldo posted. He further added “However, I have to value everything that we achieved this season at Juventus, both in collective and individual terms. The Italian Super Cup, the Italian Cup and the Serie A Top Scorer trophy fill me with happiness, mainly due to the difficulty they carry with them, in a country where nothing is easy to win.
“With these achievements, I reached a goal that I had set myself since the first day I arrived in Italy: to win the Championship, the Cup and the Super Cup, and also to be Best Player and Top Scorer in this great football country filled with tremendous players, giant clubs and a very own football culture.
“Thanks to everyone who took part in this journey! We stand together!”. Ronaldo’s contract with Juventus runs through the 2021-22 season, but it’s easy to see why people could interpret Ronaldo’s post as a farewell.
Lionel Messi (198.9 million followers)
Chelsea and Manchester City will contest the UEFA Champions League final and it appears that the two English Premier League sides may also be the frontrunners to acquire Messi’s services for next season.
Messi’s contract is up with Barcelona this summer. The 33-year-old Argentina international scored 30 goals in 35 matches this season.
Neymar (149.8 million followers)
There was a double heartbreak for Brazilian international Neymar. Paris Saint-Germain, last season’s finalists, crashed out of the UCL in the semifinal stage. As well, for the first time in four years, PSG aren’t Ligue 1 champions. They pipped for the title by Lille via the scant margin of one point.
Virat Kohli (111.2 million followers)
Captain of India’s cricket team, Kohli is the first athlete able to break through the soccer stranglehold on the most-followed Instagram athlete accounts.
Kohli and his wife, Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma, recently turned good Samaritans to help raise money for expensive medicine needed by a child suffering from spinal muscular atrophy (SPA), a rare genetic disorder.
LeBron James (82.7 million followers)
The first North American athlete on this list, Los Angeles Lakers star James recently found himself in hot water for his actions off the court. He attended an event to promote a tequila brand he invests in. This is apparently in violation of the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety regulations, but the league did not take actions to discipline the act.
There was a belief that the NBA’s most popular player was being given special treatment. “LeBron briefly attended an outdoor event related to an individual commercial activity where everyone was either required to be vaccinated or return a negative COVID test,” the league explained in a statement.
Kylian Mbappe (50.2 million followers)
Is 27-goal scorer and French World Cup winner Mbappe preparing to depart from PSG? Mbappe told Canal Plus “Everyone knows how profoundly attached I am to the club,” . “I have always been very thankful towards the president, my different coaches.
“What I want is to win, feel like I am somewhere where I can win, where there is a solid project around me. The footballing project is essential. I want to feel like I am part of a team that is going to do something.”