THE WORLD’S TOP 20 SPORTS ATHLETES ON INSTAGRAM IN 2024 LIST

Find below the world’s top 20 sports athletes on Instagram in 2024 list. The latest ranking list of the world’s top 20 most famous and popular sports people, players, celebrities and influencers on Instagram with the most followers.

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

THE WORLD’S TOP 20 SPORTS ATHLETES ON INSTAGRAM IN 2024 LIST

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20. Luis Suarez

Luis Suarez is one of the most popular sports athletes on Instagram with 48+ million followers.

Luis Suarez is a professional football player currently back at his home team Club Nacional de Football in Montevideo, Uruguay after spending many years playing for some of the best teams in Europe, including Athletico de Madrid FC, Barcelona FC and Liverpool FC.

Considered one of the most prolific football stickers of all time, Suarez is also famous for biting opponent players.

Luis Suarez football quote controversial famous bite

Luis Suarez’s football quote controversial famous bite – Uruguayan professional footballer

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19. James Rodríguez (@jamesrodriguez10)

James Rodriguez is one of the most-followed sports athletes on Instagram with 51+ million followers.

James Rodríguez is a Colombian football player who has been struggling to keep his top form in the last few years.

Real Madrid FC signed him off right after his successful 2014 FIFA World Cup and he was given the famous Number 10 Real Madrid t-shirt that automatically got him instant celebrity status and fame. After a couple of seasons with Real Madrid FC, he was loaned to Bayern FC for another two seasons before moving to the English team: Everton FC where he played just one season in the English Premier League.

In 2021, Al-Rayyan (a Qatari football club) signed him with a salary of 12 million euros a year. He lasted only one season in Qatar before moving to the Greek football Olympiacos F.C. which had him for a short spell of 7 months terminating his contract in April  2023.

After three months unemployed ( as a free agent) he just managed to secure a 2-year contract with Sao Paulo F.C. in July 2023.

James Rodríguez has featured in several marketing campaigns including Dos Molinos (His own Cafes chain brand), Calvin Klein, Forex, Huawei, WarRobots, Pixonic, Adidas Colombia, Monastery Couture & Dolce Gabanna.

james rodriguez caricature

James Rodriguez caricature

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18. Gareth Bale (@garethbale11)

Gareth Bale is one of the most popular sports athletes on Instagram with 53+ million followers.

Finally, a good well-behaved boy on this list. Gareth Bale is a Welsh retired professional footballer who played last for Los Angeles F.C. He was a key player for Real Madrid FC and Tottenham Hotspurs in London.

Gareth Bale also enjoys playing golf – and he was not shy to admit it.

Bale has collaborated with different brands including TaylorMade Golf, BMW, Celtic Manor Resort, Wales Golf, The R&A, PGA Tour, Ryder Cup, PlayStation, Champions League, Cymru (Fawales), AirWays and Hublot.

Gareth Bale Welsh Instagram UK

Gareth Bale Welsh Instagram UK

Adidas, Lucozade, EA Sports, and BT Sport are some of Gareth Bale’s most notable brand endorsements.

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17. Stephen (Wardell) Curry

Stephen Curry is one of the most-followed sports athletes on Instagram with 56+ million followers. . (@stephencurry30)

Stephen Curry basketball player cartoon

Stephen Curry basketball player cartoon

Stephen Curry is an American professional basketball player currently playing for the Golden State Warriors team in the NBA, surely one of America’s top basketball stars.

Stephen Curry has collaborated with top brands including Curry Brand (His sneaker brand), Under Armour, Chase, Nissan Motor, Rakuten, Sony, JP Morgan, Brita, Unilever, Vivo, Infiniti and FTX, Cova Street Art, Underrated Golf Tour, Callaway Golf, Golf Channel, Eat Learn Play Foundation, Chase Finance, Apple Music, KPMG Golf, Carmax and Howard Bison Golf.

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16. Paulo Dybala

Paulo Dybala is one of the most popular sports athletes on Instagram with 57+ million followers.

Paulo Dybala (also called: La Joya) is an Argentinian professional football player (creative midfielder) currently playing for Roma F.C. after a few years at Juventus FC in the Serie A league in Italy.

Dybala is also one of the world’s top 10 most-followed footballers on TikTok.

The word Joya means “fantastic” in the Spanish language.

Paulo Dybala goal celebration gladiator mask caricature illustration Argentina Juventus Football Italy

Paulo Dybala goal celebration gladiator mask caricature illustration Argentina Juventus Football Italy

Paulo Dybala has collaborated with top brands including Adidas Football, Web3 football game, Skrill digital payments, Replay and MonkeyLeague.

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15. Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba is one of the most-followed sports athletes on Instagram with 61+ million followers.

Paul Pogba is a French professional football player.

Due to his extraordinary defensive and attacking skills, Paul Pogba is considered one of the “best midfield football players in the world”.

No wonder Pogba is also one of the most-followed footballers on Instagram.

This popular French player on Instagram currently plays for Juventus FC

The media is surely missing the disagreements he had with coach Jose Mourinho when both were part of the Manchester United FC squad.

Brands collaborating with Paul Pogba include adidas, Pepsi, TCL Electronics, Adidas Football, Wahed Finance and the NBA.

Pogba also presented the Best Song award at the 2017 MTV Europe Music Awards.

Paul Pogba caricature footballer

Paul Pogba caricature footballer. Illustration: Dani Campay.

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14. Sergio Ramos

Sergio Ramos is one of the most-followed sports athletes on Instagram with 63+ million followers.

Sergio Ramos is one of the most popular Spanish football defenders in the last decade.

Ramos’s successful career at Real Madrid FC has made him win different trophies including Champions League titles.

Sergio Ramos is also one of the world’s top 10 most-followed footballers on Instagram and also one of the world’s top 10 most-followed footballers on TikTok.

In June 2023, Sergio Ramos left Paris Saint Germain FC and joined Sevilla FC

His followers can enjoy watching videos and photos of his training regime and his fashion style. His attack on the “Egyptian king” Mohamed Salah in the Champions League Final 2018 went viral as Mo Salah had to leave the pitch with a bad shoulder injury.

Sergio Ramos caricature footballer

Sergio Ramos caricature footballer. Illustration: Pandelet

Sergio Ramos has worked with top brands including Nike, Mizuno, Nivea Men, Hugo Boss, Budweiser, McFit, Pepsi, Gatorade, Assassin’s Creed and Microsoft.

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13. Mohamed Salah (@mosalah)

Mo Salah is one of the most-followed sports athletes on Instagram with 63+ million followers.

Mohamed Salah, also called: “The King of Egypt” is one of the most-followed footballers on Instagram. Mo Salah is a popular Egyptian football striker who currently plays for Liverpool FC in the English Premier League tournament.

The good Muslim married man 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 breaking the strict code of ethics, rules and values for Muslim marriage men in Arab society. Related: The best Code of Ethics template.

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.

Mohammed Salah’s brand collaborations include Adidas, Vodafone (Egypt), Falken Tires, Uber, Pepsi, Mountain View Egypt Real Estate Developer and Oppo.

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 like a pro with this best Influencer marketing brief template.

12. Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of the most popular sports athletes on Instagram with 64+ million followers (@iamzlatanibrahimovic)

Zlatan is one of the most popular Swedish elite football strikers.

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-type personality that allows him to say things no other football player in history has had the balls to say.

This controversial footballer walks his talk with a remarkable football career.

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

After a few years in the decadent U.S.A. soccer league, Zlatan Ibrahimovic came back to AC Milan F.C. (in 2019 – aged 38) to become (again) one of the top Calcio league (Serie A) top goal scorers of the season.

Zlatan retired – as a professional football player – in June 2023 with a massive farewell at San Siro Stadium in Milan, Italy. He is now an advisor for Milan FC.

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, Nivea, Volvo and Microsoft Xbox.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic caricature smiling swedish football

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s caricature smiling Swedish football

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11. Marcelo Vieira

Marcelo Vieira is one of the most popular sports athletes on Instagram with 68+ million followers. @marcelotwelve

Only Pelé may be loved more than Marcelo in Brazil.

Marcelo Vieira is a Brazilian professional footballer (left-back), one of the world’s top 10 most-followed footballers on Instagram and also one of the world’s top 10 most-followed footballers on TikTok.

Marcelo played for Real Madrid FC for 15 seasons and has had 58 appearances with the Brazilian football team.

After his long stint at Real Madrid FC, Marcelo joined Olympiacos FC (Greek football club) in 2022 for only one season and currently plays for Flumiense FC, a top-table Brazilian football team.

Marcelo Vieira has won many trophies including four UEFA Champions Leagues and 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.

Marcelo Vieira - Popular sports athlete on Instagram - Footballer from Brazil

Marcelo Vieira – Popular sports athlete on Instagram – Footballer from Brazil

Next > The top 10 most popular sports athletes on Instagram or the  21 top 25 most popular sports athletes on Instagram

You should check out the world’s top 10 most-followed footballers on TikTok.

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START YOUR GLOBAL SPORTS INFLUENCER OUTREACH CAMPAIGN TODAY!

Top marketers working for global sports brands are doing Influencer Marketing outreach with this exclusive The world’s top 200 sports athletes on Instagram list ready on Google Sheets.

Each entry includes:

  • Full name
  • Link to the Instagram account
  • Instagram followers count (as of January)
  • Main sport category
  • Gender (Female, male, lgbtqia+)

Get immediate access to this premium list!

This premium list is being used by top professionals working for some of the top global sports brands. A great list for:

  • Global Brand Strategists
  • Global Marketing Directors
  • Sports Account Directors
  • Digital Marketers
  • Influencer Marketing Strategists
  • Social Media Managers for sports brands

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CONCLUSION

Some of these top 20 most popular sports athletes on Instagram have a large and dedicated fan base as fans often have a strong emotional connection with them.

Partnering with them can significantly increase your brand’s exposure as their followers are likely to pay attention to their endorsements and collaborations and they may be more inclined to make a purchase.

These sports stars are seen as role models and admired for their sports achievements and skills.

By selecting the right sports celebrity that aligns with your target audience, you can effectively reach and connect with your desired customer base.

When working with some of these top 20 sports athletes on Instagram, you should leverage their personal experiences, achievements, and values to tell a captivating narrative that resonates with your target audience.

Authenticity and relevance are vital for a successful collaboration with a sports athlete on Instagram.

You may want to consider the long-term impact of the partnership, as the association with one of the top 20 sports celebrities on Instagram can have lasting effects on your positive brand’s reputation and perception.

Need training on how best to promote your sports brand? Contact us today!

Next > The top 10 most popular sports athletes on Instagram or the  21 top 25 most popular sports athletes on Instagram

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

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  • 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. It is also called “path to purchase” optimisation.

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THE WORLD’S TOP 20 SPORTS ATHLETES ON INSTAGRAM IN 2024 LIST

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