Find below the current ranking list of the top 10 most-followed Footballers on Instagram in 2024.

Brought to you by Mau, a Senior Instagram Marketing Specialist at eDigital.

Cover: Carlos “El Pibe” Valderrama.



That was the question I asked myself while driving Brisbane to Cairns road trip visiting the best stops for a few months and having plenty of time to follow my favourite football players on Instagram.

Below you are about to find the most followed footballers on Instagram. 


Check below the 2024 ranking list of the top 10 football players with the most followers on Instagram.

The below list is quite different to the world’s top 10 most-followed footballers on TikTok.

You may want to check out both lists. 

10. Mohamed Salah (@mosalah)

63+ million people on Instagram follow Mohamed Salah.

Mohamed Salah, also called: “The King of Egypt” is one of the world’s most popular footballers on Instagram. Mo Salah plays for Liverpool F.C. in the English Premier League tournament.

The good Muslim and Egyptian married footballer got into a massive scandal in 2019 because of a GQ magazine photoshoot image in which he is being embraced by Alessandra Ambrosio ( former Victoria’s Secret Angel model). He was criticised for probably breaking the strict code of ethics, rules and values for Muslim marriage men in Arab society.

Mohamed Salah married muslim controversy arab scandal GQ magazine

Mohamed Salah married Muslim controversy Arab scandal GQ magazine

A professional photoshoot brief written by Mo Salah’s agent should have avoided this crazy scandal and could have educated the photographer and GQ team on what type of photos are allowed for a married Muslim man.

A social media user commented:

“Imagine if a married Muslim woman did this, she would cruelly be beaten” 

Learn how to brief a Sports Athlete influencer like a pro!

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9. Zlatan Ibrahimovic

64+ million people on Instagram follow Zlatan Ibrahimovic. 

If you need to choose one of these top 10 sports stars to follow, this is your man, the “real” man.

Sports journalists and media revere Zlatan’s “no bullshit” ninja personality that allows him to say things no other football player in history has had the balls to say.

This controversial elite Swedish ex-footballer walked his talk with a remarkable football career.

Hated by few but loved by millions, Zlatan is one of the top 25 most-followed sports athletes on Instagram and one of the world’s top 10 most-followed footballers on TikTok.

After a few years in the decadent men’s American soccer league, Zlatan Ibrahimovic came back to AC Milan FC (in 2019 – aged 38)  to become “again” one of the top Calcio league (Serie A) top goal scorers of the season.

Zlatan has now retired as a professional football player in June 2023 with a massive farewell at San Siro Stadium in Milan, Italy. 

Global marketing campaigns using Zlatan’s name and look can be seen on brands such as Nike, EA Sports, FIFPro, United Nations World Food Program and Auto Images.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic caricature smiling swedish football

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s caricature – smiling Swedish football

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8. Marcelo Vieira

66+ million people on Instagram follow Marcelo Vieira.

Loved by millions of Brazilians, Marcelo is one of the top 25 most-followed sports athletes on Instagram and one of the world’s top 10 most-followed footballers on TikTok.

Marcelo played for Real Madrid F.C. (successor of another great left-winger Roberto Carlos), Galatasaray F.C. and now playing for Fluminense F.C. He also played for the Brazilian football team.

Marcelo Vieira has won 22 trophies including four UEFA Champions Leagues as well as five Spanish top professional “La Liga” titles with his team. Marcelo has mainly featured in global marketing campaigns for Adidas, Pepsi, Emirates Airlines, Amazon Prime Video and others.



Learn how to brief a Sports Athlete influencer like a pro!

7. Ronaldinho

75+ million people on Instagram follow Ronaldinho.

Ronaldinho is a retired Brazilian professional football player who became popular for his fancy way of acrobatic football playing especially when he played for Barcelona F.C. and Milan F.C.

Considered one of the greatest of all time, Ronaldinho is still one of the top 25 most-followed sports athletes on Instagram and one of the world’s top 10 most-followed footballers on TikTok.

Ronaldinho has been featured as a model or ambassador by top brands including Nike, Lenovo, Hyundai, Pepsi, Protobar (energy snack bar), Mybet88 Asia, Freestyle Football Federation, Teqball Football Federation, Barcelona F.C., Paralympics Games, Nutrilite (Vitamins and supplements), Danet (yogurt) and others.

ronaldinho caricature

ronaldinho caricature

Some of the top 10 most-followed Brazilian women on YouTube follow Ronaldinho. 

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6. Karim Benzema

76+ million people on Instagram follow Karim Benzema.

Latest update: On the 27th of December 2023, Karim Benzema’s Instagram Account was taken offline hours after Al-Ittihad’s 5-2 Loss to Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nassr FC. 

Karim Benzema is a French Arab striker who was in the shadow of Cristiano Ronaldo for many years but since Ronaldo left Real Madrid F.C.,

Karim Benzema became the biggest star for the Spanish team and is considered one of the best strikers of the last decade.

He finally secured his first Ballon d’Or in Oct 2022.

Karim currently plays as a striker for Saudi Pro League club Al-Ittihad.

Some of the brands that the striker endorses include Adidas, Hyundai, EA Sports, Bwin and French companies like LCL (Le Crédit Lyonnais) and SFR (Société française du radiotéléphone).

Karim Benzema cartoon thug gangster glasses

Karim Benzema cartoon thug gangster glasses

✔︎ Editor’s pick > Learn how to brief a Sports Athlete influencer like a pro!

Tip: Elite sporting athletes are just one section of the sporting industry and you could partner with other popular members of the sports industry:

  1. Top sports manager/coaches. Their interviews get tons of views, especially on YouTube.
  2. Top sports presenters. These are the faces covering sporting news on TV.
  3. Top sports commentators. A sports commentator (also known as a sports announcer, sportscaster, or play-by-play announcer) gives a real-time commentary of a game or event, usually during a live broadcast. They can also be invited to a sports show to offer commentary after a popular game.
  4. Top sports entertainers. Sports entertainers are content creators who love making funny videos about popular live broadcasted sporting games and/or matches. You can find them on YouTube, TikTok, etc.
  5. Top rules analysts. In the last decade, live sports broadcasters began to increasingly employ rules analysts to explain penalties and controversial calls and analyse instant replay reviews to predict whether a call/fault will or will not be overturned. These rules analysts are typically former referees.

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5. David Beckham

86+ million people on Instagram follow David Beckham

A professional English retired footballer, David Beckham is one of the most followed British celebrities on Instagram and one of the sports athletes with the most followers on Instagram.

Beckham played as a striker and his goals with the Manchester United team will always be watched and remembered. Fans enjoy following his Inter Miami F.C. managing activities and his shirt off” workout videos on Instagram.

Beckham has collaborated on many advertising and marketing campaigns for brands including Sky Sports, H&M, Visit California, Burger King, Pepsi, Jaguar, Adidas, EA Sports, Sharpie (markers), Motorola, Vodafone, ESPN, Homme (Perfume) and others.

David Beckham creative portrait pencil drawing

David Beckham creative portrait pencil drawing

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A quick question: Is your Instagram marketing actually bringing you real sales or leads? Just posting on Instagram or running Instagram ads generating zero sales means NOTHING! NADA!

Our eCom boost program can fix your marketing issues and finally get your most valuable customer segments to become interested in your offering. You will be presented with a proven strategy framework and the steps to generate more real sales and leads.

You can also learn how to craft a Successful Social Media Strategy and start marketing in a far more meaningful and effective way.

Check out > Social media management services for football players

4. Kylian Mbappé

111+ million people on Instagram follow Kylian Mbappé

The wonder French young professional footballer, Kylian Mbappé already won the 2018 World Cup and now is considered one of the youngest top football strikers along with Norwegian: Erling Haaland.

Coming from Monaco F.C., Kylian plays as a striker for the professional French team: Paris Saint Germain F.C. (PSG). He is considered one of the world’s fastest and most astute goal scorers making him one of the top 25 most followed sports athletes on Instagram.

Kylian has already been featured in marketing and advertising campaigns with top brands including FIFA (football), EA Sports (sports gaming), Good Goût (French organic baby and children foods’ brand), Sony Playstation, Nike Football & Jordan brands, Hublot watches, Bulk Homme (Japanese skincare brand) and others.

kylian mbappe caricature funny

Kylian Mbappé caricature funny – Popular football player on Instagram

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3. Neymar Jr

218+ million people on Instagram follow Neymar Jr.

Is Neymar Jr a luxury high fashion top model, a rapper celebrity, a singer or a top football player?

A bit everything, the media has catapulted this professional Brazilian footballer as the “always crying” diva but surely Neymar has shown the world he is one of the world’s most talented footballers.

The MSN (Messi-Suarez-Neymar) at Barcelona F.C., will always be remembered as one of the most dangerous forward threesomes in football history!

Neymar is one of the top 25 most-followed sports athletes on Instagram and one of the world’s top 10 most-followed footballers on TikTok.

Neymar’s fans loved to watch his football skills, tricks, fashion style, goals and funniest and most memorable football moments.

Neymar has played for the Brazilian football team, Barcelona F.C. and Paris Saint Germain F.C. (PSG).

Neymar jr caricature footballer brazil

Neymar jr caricature footballer brazil

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2. Lionel Messi

497+ million people on Instagram follow Lionel Messi. 

A graduate of La Masia (Barcelona’s youth academy), The Argentinian currently plays for Inter Miami football club.

Leo Messi‘s unique ball dribbling inventions and game-awareness skills have made him win many trophies such as the latest 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, the 2021 Copa America in Brazil and his 8th Ballon d’Or in 2023.

Messi’s golden years in Barcelona FC – under the management of Pep Guardiola epitomised him as the GOAT (Greatest of all time).

On his first day at PSG in 2021, Messi’s t-shirt hit sales records for his new club, confirming his power as a brand.

The late controversial and iconic Argentinian footballer Diego Armando Maradona once said:

The ball stays glued to his foot; I’ve seen great players in my career, but I’ve never seen anyone with Messi’s ball control

The GOAT debate (Leo Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo) has ended after his successful 2022 World Cup that crowned him as the winner. Sadly the GOAT debate will no longer fill social media platforms with millions of comments from raving fans.

Cristiano Ronaldo still possesses a record many professional football analysts believe may take him above Leo Messi: Cristiano has scored far more decisive goals (goals that win titles).

One of the most followed footballers on Instagram, Leo Messi sadly collaborates with unhealthy brands such as Pepsi, Gatorade (sugary drinks), Lays (chips), Budweiser (Alcoholic beverage) and video gaming companies that make kids addicted to consoles (PUBG, Call of Duty Warzone2 ModernWarfare 2, Sorare).

Shameful for a guy of this calibre.

Other “brand ambassador deals” include Adidas, Cirque du Soleil, Hard Rock Cafe, Apple TV, Saudi Tourism Authority (visitsaudi),  Louis Vuitton,, Bitget (Crypo exchange platform)

Lionel Messi caricature mate

Lionel Messi caricature mate

Messi and Ronaldo’s new football club announcements on Instagram and Twitter saw massive engagement from the football community and fans around the world. What was clear was that Ronaldo’s move back to Manchester United was more popular in terms of Instagram/Twitter likes than Messi’s move to PSG.

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messi ronaldo announcements social media photo vs video instagram twitter

Messi’s PSG and Ronaldo’s Manchester United new club announcements August 2021 social media photo vs video Instagram Twitter

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1. Cristiano Ronaldo

617+ million people on Instagram follow Cristiano Ronaldo. 

Cristiano Ronaldo is the world’s most popular and most-followed footballer on Instagram.

Cristiano Ronaldo caricature abs shirt off

Cristiano Ronaldo caricature abs shirt off

Cristiano Ronaldo has been nominated for the Ballon d’Or a record eighteen times and is a five-time winner.

Born in Madera Island, Portugal, Cristiano Ronaldo is now playing for a Saudi Arabian team after an extraordinary career at Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus.

Everything this Portuguese football king touches converts it into money.

Cristiano Ronaldo knows the power of celebrity branding and has successfully launched different businesses including hotels (Pertana CR7), Health & fitness app (7egent), Gym (CR7 Crunch fitness), eyewear, underwear, shoes (footwear) and fashion. Cristiano has collaborated with and been the model for global marketing campaigns and brands including Nike, Insparya (haircare), Herbalife Nutrition, Dazn (sports app), Clear (haircare), SixPad (fitness gear), Free Fire (Gaming app).

Out of the pitch, Cristiano Ronaldo is also known for creating controversy, especially when telling the media he is a better player than Lionel Messi.

Regardless, he will continue to be one of the world’s top 25 ost-followed sports athletes on Instagram.

Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal footballer sports athlete most popular Instagram

Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal footballer sports athlete most popular Instagram


In June 2021, during a football post-match interview, the most followed sports athlete on Instagram, Cristiano Ronaldo, surprisingly remove Coca-Cola bottles in a stunt to promote his own water brand. This action produced a single-day drop of USD$3 billion in Coke‘s market capitalisation.

coca-cola market cap drop graph after cristiano ronaldo bottles removal

Coca-cola market cap drop graph after Cristiano Ronaldo bottles removal

Would you like to increase Instagram followers fast and free or check out our latest social media tips?

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Elite footballers are some of the world’s top Instagram Influencers who can help you increase brand awareness, thereby driving more traffic to your website.

The top 10 most popular football players on Instagram have the power to drive more people towards your products or services. This is because consumers trust the recommendations made by their favourite professional footballers.

Marketers are using our “Top 200 Sports Athletes on Instagram” list to start their Sports Influencer Outreach program to cherry-pick the right athletes. Then you can contact your preferred sports athletes and negotiate deals that will lead to more sales. 

eDigital can help you conceptualise, plan, develop, run and optimise successful marketing campaigns that generate leads and sales for your brand.

The services we offer include:

  • Strategic planning for social media and other digital marketing channels.
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  • SEO strategy and execution. Including content development (articles, stories, eye-catching and SEO-optimised visuals).
  • Celebrity and influencer marketing campaign strategy. 
  • Brand development. Logo creation, brand personality development and design of marketing materials.
  • Consumer contests/competitions/giveaways.
  • Email marketing. Dip sequence design and deployment. 
  • Conversion rate optimisation. Also called “path to purchase” optimisation. 

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Next > Check out the world’s top 10 most-followed footballers on TikTok


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