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Cristiano Ronaldo is the world's most followed athlete on social media with over 200m fans

Cristiano Ronaldo has become the first athlete to surpass 200 million followers on social media.

The look of dismay is a familiar sight on the face of the Real Madrid superstar whose unsurpassable desire to be number one has been bested at the hands his rival Lionel Messi, or ‘The Little Genius’, on more than one occasion.

Ronaldo has trumped Messi in some statistical battles though; he has a better goal per game ratio in La Liga for instance and is the all-time top goal scorer in the Champions League.

Now the Portuguese forward can lay claim to being the world’s most popular athlete on social media after he crossed the 200 million threshold on Tuesday.

The 31 year-old’s combined total social media followers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter reached 200,058,494, according to social media tracking database Hookit.com.

Messi on the otherhand has 120.8 million followers on his social media accounts, however he’s not on Twitter.

Both players have a number of sponsorship endorsements, Ronald has Nike and Messi has Adidas, but Ronaldo’s dominance on social media is likely to portray him as a more attractive investment than Messi when it comes to advertising on social platforms.

Ronaldo's popularity on social puts him past the combined total of basketball stars LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Steph Curry, who have 187 million altogether.

Tony Connelly

I cover media, marketing and sponsorship news within the sports industry. This not only includes breaking news but writing feature pieces with insights from experts in the sports marketing world.

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