Lionel Messi hits Instagram landmark as he closes in on Cristiano Ronaldo follower count

By Colin Millar

Lionel Messi has passed the 300million follower count on Instagram – becoming just the second footballer ever to hit the landmark.

The Paris Saint-Germain superstar is second on the list of most followed footballers on the social media platform, behind long-term adversary Cristiano Ronaldo.

Manchester United forward Ronaldo is still well out in front with a remarkable 389million followers on the website – the most of any footballer.

Thousands of sports stars share their day-to-day lives with fans and followers who follow them on Instagram, which is the platform that allows them to reach the widest base.

The accessibility of Instagram and the opportunities to share information directly with the followers has driven its popularity, with celebrities able to monetise their accounts through advertising opportunities which are dependant on followings.

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Lionel Messi and his wife Antonela Roccuzzo regularly post updates on their social media accounts (Instagram/antonelaroccuzzo)

Messi, 34, uploads daily content to his accounts such as his everyday activities with his family and wife Antonela in the French capital.

The Argentine’s high-profile summer transfer from Barcelona this summer has signalled the first time he has played for a club outside of the Catalan giants.

While Messi trails Ronaldo on the followers count, the Portuguese superstar has posted significantly more times on his account than the PSG forward.

Messi has shared only 820 posts on his profile compared to 3,219 of Ronaldo – who has posted almost four times as frequently.

The Manchester United forward also follows more accounts – 492, compared to only 283 of Messi.

Those two veteran stars are way out in front on the followers count for footballers, with Messi’s club teammate Neymar in third place – with 168million followers, less than half that of Ronaldo.

There are continued significant drop-offs in follower counts for others in the top 10, with former midfielder David Beckham next up with 70.6million followers – fewer than half of Neymar’s and less than a fifth of Ronaldo’s.

Of other active footballers, PSG forward Kylian Mbappe is next up with 63.5million followers – just ahead of former Barcelona playmaker Ronaldinho, who has a follower count of 62.9million.

Next up are Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Sergio Ramos – 52million and 49million followers respectively – with Liverpool star Mohamed Salah and Gareth Bale of Real Madrid completing the top ten.

Indeed, Ronaldo and Salah are the only two active footballers based in England who are in the top 20 list of footballers – past and present – in terms of follower numbers on Instagram.

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