Lionel Messi hits 500m followers on Instagram — 2nd only to Cristiano Ronaldo

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Soccer Football - Ligue 1 - Paris St Germain v Clermont - Parc de Princes, Paris, France - June 3, 2023 Paris St Germains Lionel Messi.— Reuters
Soccer Football - Ligue 1 - Paris St Germain v Clermont - Parc de Princes, Paris, France - June 3, 2023 Paris St Germain's Lionel Messi.— Reuters

Lionel Messi has marked yet another extraordinary milestone in his illustrious career, becoming the second person, following in the footsteps of Cristiano Ronaldo, to amass a staggering 500 million followers on Instagram, Sportskeeda reported. 

The Argentine football sensation now shares this exclusive club with his long-time rival, with Ronaldo currently leading the pack at 622 million followers.

The Instagram hierarchy reveals Messi's towering presence, leaving global icons such as Selena Gomez (429 million), Kylie Jenner (400 million), and Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson (397 million) in his wake. 

A report from business outlet Sportico indicates that an impressive 20% of the app's 2.5 billion active user base currently follows Messi, solidifying his status as one of the biggest stars not just in football but across all sports, particularly after his move to Inter Miami in the MLS in the summer of 2023.

Remarkably, Messi's Instagram followers surpass the combined total of all teams in the five major American sports leagues (NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, and MLS). 

The report further delves into the demographics of Messi's followers, revealing that 72% are male, with the majority hailing from Brazil (12%), followed closely by India (8.1%), Argentina (6.5%), and the US (6.2%).

In addition to this social media feat, a comparative analysis of Messi and Ronaldo's starts to the 2024 calendar year showcases both football legends enjoying success on the field. 

Ronaldo, leading Al-Nassr in the Saudi Pro League, sits comfortably in second place, netting four goals this year, while Messi, overcoming initial challenges at Inter Miami, has propelled the team to a strong start in the 2024 MLS campaign, making significant contributions in their victories.