Ronaldo, Messi, McGregor, Tyson, Hamilton: The world's most talked about athletes in 2021 | OneFootball

Ronaldo, Messi, McGregor, Tyson, Hamilton: The world's most talked about athletes in 2021

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Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the most recognisable human beings on the planet.

Not only is the Manchester United superstar up there with the greatest footballers to have ever played the sport, but he also has a profile and influence that completely transcends his profession.

You could go up to one hundred people in the street who had never watched a football match in their lives and you could bet that a large amount of them would still know about Ronaldo.

Ronaldo's remarkable influence

Whether it's the general cultural significance of football or simply images of Ronaldo posing in his branded underwear online, there are many ways that his name spreads around like wildfire.

And that's especially the case online with Ronaldo holding the remarkable status of being the most followed human being on Instagram with no less than 374 million fans keeping up with his life.

You know you're more than a footballer when you've got more people following you than Beyonce, Kim Kardashian-West, Drake, Ariana Grande and literally any other celebrity you can imagine.

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2021's most talked about athletes

And what's perhaps most scary is Ronaldo's influence is showing no signs of stopping because a recent study shows that the United ace has a truly unmatched reach compared to other footballers.

Onlinegambling.ca used Buzzsumo’s database to find out who the most talked about athletes in 2021 have been by seeing who has featured most in news stories over the last 12 months.

Remarkably, Ronaldo has been the subject of a recorded 195,976 articles with Neymar trailing in second place on 171,222 stories, while Lionel Messi occupies a distant third with a total of 131,080.

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Ronaldo leads the way in top 30

However, Ronaldo's influence really becomes apparent when you look at the total engagements that they attracted on social media with the Portuguese standing head and shoulders above the rest.

Ronaldo harvests almost double the amount of engagements of Messi with his gargantuan tally of 112,932,160 blowing away his eternal rival on 60,643,960.

It really is a menacing demonstration of the public interest in Ronaldo compared to athletes of arguably equal or superior sporting quality, so be sure to check out the full top 30 down below:

Ronaldo truly has elevated his status above that of 'merely' one of the greatest footballers in history.

Ronaldo raising the bar

Naturally, this doesn't settle any sort of footballing debate because all the metrics here are far more closely linked to wider pop culture and there's nothing to say that all the articles were positive.

However, the simple fact of the matter is that Ronaldo is by far and away the most talked about character in football and the one who gets people tapping the most on their social media pages.

Whether you put that down to his performances on the pitch, his ripping abs or anything in between, the statistics show that it's beyond reproach that Ronaldo has the biggest influence in all of sport.

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