Football is one of the most played sports in the world and footballers are among the most popular sportsmen. These players have gathered a huge number of following with their discipline, talent and success. For some they are more than sportsmen, they are role models.
While fans love watching them on the field showing off their skills, they also want to engage with them on a more personal level. In this digital age footballers use social media platforms and have managed to spread their influence far and wide, beyond their country of origin, resulting in massive earnings. So, without further ado let’s have a look at the 10 most influential footballers on Instagram.
Cristiano Ronaldo – Number of followers: 187 Million
Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the most famous footballers out there. A prolific goalscorer, Ronaldo is the all-time leader in the UEFA Champions League. He has won 5 Ballon d’Or trophies, one of the most prestigious awards in the football world. In 2018, the Portugal team captain signed with Juventus in a transfer deal worth €100 million; the highest ever paid by an Italian club and the highest fee ever paid for a player over 30 years of age.
While Ronaldo is one of the most popular footballers out there, he is also one of the most influential and most-followed athletes on social media. With 187 million followers on Instagram, Ronaldo has also secured countless collaborations with brands like Konami, KFC, Tag Heuer, Armani, Coca Cola and many more. The Portuguese also has a $1 billion lifetime deal with Nike which he signed back in 2016, making him the third athlete to be offered a $1 billion lifetime deal after Michael Jordan and LeBron James. As of June 2019 Forbes estimates Ronald’s earnings from endorsements to be $44 million.
Lionel Messi – Number of followers: 133 Million
Lionel Messi is another huge name in the football community. With 133 million followers on Instagram, Messi has also secured a total of 5 Ballon d’Or trophies to his name and a record 6 European Golden Shoes. He is also the second-highest goal scorer in the UEFA Champions League, right behind his arch-rival Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Barcelona FC striker has a lifetime contract with Adidas and sponsorship deal with Pepsi, Gatorade, Huawei, Lay’s and Mastercard. The former Aregentinian captain has recently earned a total of $35 million from endorsements.
Neymar Jr. – Number of followers: 127 Million
Neymar Jr. is a Brazilian footballer who plays as a forward for French club PSG (Paris Saint-Germain). In 2017 Neymar broke the record for the most expensive transfer, when he moved from Barcelona to PSG in a massive €222 million ($263 million) deal, making him the most expensive player ever.
Off pitch Neymar is one of the most recognizable players out there with 127 million followers. He earns $30 million from endorsements, including Gillette, Nike, Red Bull, Mastercard and many more. He is also the brand ambassador for Chinese electronics brand TCL.
David Beckham – Number of followers: 58.7 Million
David Beckham is a retired English footballer. The British icon started his career at Manchester United. He is the first English player to win league titles in four countries: England, Spain, the United States and France. Despite having half the followers compared to the other three footballers on the list, Beckham is one of the most famous and marketable athletes out there.
With 58.7 million followers on Instagram, Beckham has joined forces with a number of brands such as Adidas, Gillette, H&M, Samsung, Sainsbury and Armani. He has pocketed a total of $42 million from endorsements.
Ronaldo de Assis Moreira – Number of followers: 49.1 Million
Ronaldo de Assis Moreira, or more commonly known as Ronaldinho is a Brazilian footballer regarded by many as one of the greatest footballers of all time. He retired as just one of the seven players to ever win the FIFA World Cup, UEFA Champions League and the Ballon d’Or. He started his career at Grêmio, before moving to PSG, Barcelona and A.C Milan.
Although retired, Ronaldinho is still an influential ex-footballer. Having 49.1 million followers, the Brazilian National has worked with brands such as Pepsi, Gatorade, Coca-Cola Danone, and EA Sports – being featured on the covers of games including FIFA 2004, FIFA 06, FIFA 07, FIFA 08 and FIFA 09.
James Rodríguez – Number of followers: 43.8 Million
James Rodriguez is a Colombian professional footballer who plays for Spanish club Real Madrid. He was awarded the Golden Boot as the top goal scorer of the FIFA 2014 World Cup. The Colombian midfielder joined Real Madrid back in 2014 for a $100 million, breaking the club’s previous record transfer fee of Radamel Falcao, making him the most expensive Colombian signing.
The Colombian native has worked with brands like, Hugo Boss, Pepsi, Gatorade, Adidas, Huawei, and Dentics. Racking in a hefty total of $4 million from endorsements. He currently boasts 43.8 million followers on Instagram.
Gareth Bale – Number of followers: 42.2 Million
Gareth Bale is a Welsh professional footballer who plays as a winger for Spanish club Real Madrid. He is known for his tremendous speed and ball striking from distance. He joined Real Madrid in 2013.
The Welshman has 42.2 million followers on Instagram. He has sponsorship and endorsement deals with Adidas, Konami, Foot Locker, and Nissan Motors. Banking in a total of $6.5 million from endorsements.
Marcelo – Number of followers: 42 Million
Marcelo Vieira da Silva Júnior, or more commonly known as Marcelo is a Brazilian national who operates as a left-back for Spanish club Real Madrid. He is known mainly for his offensive capabilities and technical qualities. He has won 4 UEFA Champions League titles and 2 Olympic Medals, 2008 Bronze and 2012 Silver.
Marcelo ranks in at 8th in our list with 42 million followers. He has an exclusive endorsement deal with Adidas. Until 2012, Marcelo was signed by Nike for the majority of his equipment. He also has a personal investment of around $8.1 million in different businesses.
Zlatan Ibrahimović – Number of followers: 38.8 Million
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is another well-known figure in the football world. The Swede has made a name for himself as one of the most formidable strikers out there. He holds the record for receiving the Guldbollen (Golden Ball) 11 times, including 10 consecutive times from 2007 to 2016. He also received the FIFA Puskás Award for his bicycle kick goal for Sweden vs England back in 2013. He played for some of the world’s biggest clubs including Juventus, A.C Milan, Barcelona, PSG and Manchester United.
Ibrahimovic has deals with Volvo, Nivea, Vitamin Well Sports, and Microsoft Xbox. The majority of Zlatan’s sports equipment was sponsored by Nike from 2004 and 2014 before he switched to Adidas for the 2016-17 season. However, he switched back and currently endorses Nike. He makes $5 million from endorsements.
Paul Pogba – Number of followers: 37.7 Million
Coming in at number 10 is Paul Pogba. He is a French international who currently plays for English Premier side Manchester United as a midfielder. He helped Juventus to 4 consecutive Serie A titles before transferring to Manchester United for a record €105 million, the highest ever paid by an English club. Internationally, he captained France to victory at the FIFA Under 20 World Cup.
With 37.7 million followers on Instagram, he makes $4 million from endorsements, with Adidas being his biggest sponsor inking a deal that offers him $31 million in a ten-year deal.
This wraps up our list of the Top 10 Most Influential Footballers in the world, let us know who your favorite is, by commenting below!