Introduction to the Worldwide Popularity of the 2 Best Footballers in the World

Regardless of where football fans gather in groups, one debate has been the most highly argued question in football history: Who is better - Lionel Messi the 5-time FIFA footballer of the year, or his rival Christian Ronaldo, who has been named player of the year 3 times by FIFA. Regardless whom you may choose in that debate, the truth is the numbers, though slightly tipped in favor of the older and more senior Messi, are nearly even throughout most football-related categories.
Football is the most viewed and most popular sport on our planet, played in every country, continent and corner of our globe. With such a huge percentage of the entire human race tuning in, who are fans of either one or both of these future hall-of-famers, we asked the question, “who is more popular? According to data and statistics from bettingsites, we were able to take a deeper look into the numbers and demographics that make up the immense fan base and followings of Christian Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Country Specific Demographics
The country-based demographics, of who is most universally known between Messi and Ronaldo, are very interesting. In Brazil, often seen as the soccer mecca of the world, Ronaldo is the most known, with 99% of people knowing who he is. Messi trails slightly behind, with 96% of Brazilians knowing who he is. In Argentina, the country that Messi represents and was born in, the numbers switch to show, 99% of Argentinians to know who Messi is and 96% know who Christian Ronaldo is. These numbers would indicate a draw, as they show very similar market penetration and brand knowledge for these two superstars.
However, when we look at the country where they are least popular, in the United States of America, the gap widens. In America 30% of all people know who Messi is. Ronaldo, on the other hand, is known by 40% of the American population. This clearly demonstrates that even in a country where football, also known as soccer, is not as popular, Ronaldo still is a more visible celebrity brand and more popular in general.
Worldwide Brand Knowledge Demographics
Taking a look at worldwide demographics as a whole, 92% of the world’s population knows Ronaldo compared to 87% knowing who Messi is. This can be due to Christian Ronaldo being more known or more visible as a brand, among woman. 91% of women know whom Ronaldo is, whereas, only 84% of global woman know who Messi is.
Social Media Following
When it comes to social media popularity, the scales tip immensely in Ronaldo’s favor. Messi has 60.1million followers on Instagram and over 89 million on Facebook. In total, Messi has a social following of 167.5 million. Ronaldo, with 82.9 million followers on Instagram and 122.1million on Facebook, has a social media following of over 294.9 million, across all platforms. Messi is much less active on social media than Ronaldo, and this is likely a reason for such a large discrepancy.
All in all, both superstars are immensely popular and likely two of the most recognized people on earth. Though the numbers are very close, Ronaldo, with more brand visibility in countries where soccer is less popular and through social media followers, is the clear winner and likely the most popular athlete on Earth.

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