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Ronaldo's influence off the charts; Messi hot on his heels

August 11, 2023 00:56 IST

IMAGE: Cristiano Ronaldo’s dominance hasn’t ever been restricted to just the football pitch. Photograph: Kind courtesy Cristiano Ronaldo/Instagram

Cristiano Ronaldo has yet again left the competition behind as the five-time Ballon D'Or winner was named Instagram's top earner for the third year in a row.

Ronaldo, who in July was ranked as the world's highest-paid athlete by Forbes for the first time since 2017 following his move to Saudi Arabia, has now topped the 2023 Instagram Rich List, a global marker of online influence.

The list, compiled by Instagram scheduling tool Hopper HQ, is based on internal and publicly available data on how much each user can charge for a post on Instagram and YouTube.

The Portugal forward brings in a massive $3.23 million per Instagram post, according to Hopper HQ, as he nears 600 million followers on the social media platform.


To little surprise, Ronaldo's closest rival on the list is Lionel Messi, with the Argentina World Cup winner attracting almost $2.6 million for each post.

IMAGE: Both on field and off field, Lionel Messi continues to be CR7’s closest rival. Photograph: Kind courtesy Lionel Messi/Instagram

This puts the two football giants ahead of not only every other sports star but also celebrities such as singer and actress Selena Gomez, reality star and make-up mogul Kylie Jenner and actor Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson.

Only two other athletes - Indian cricketer Virat Kohli and Brazilian footballer Neymar - made it to the Top 20.

Neymar brings in almost double the amount that his Paris St Germain team mate Kylian Mbappe does per post.

"It's still shocking to me that the annual money made on the platform increases every year," Mike Bandar, co-founder of Hopper HQ, said.

IMAGE: It comes as no surprise that Virat Kohli is the only cricketer in the top 20. Photograph: Kind courtesy Virat Kohli/Instagram

"Yet, what fascinates me more is the consistent players at the top. It's apparent that the glitz and glamour of traditional celebrities still holds power over the new 'influencer' status.

"Ronaldo and Messi not only dominate the pitch, but also the digital sphere as it's clear they personify the power of personal branding and the influence it holds over us 'ordinary' people."

The highest earning influencer on Instagram, TikTok star Khaby Lame, is number 40 on the list. Ronaldo earns almost 10 times the amount Lame brings in for his Instagram posts.

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