25 of the Top Sports Icons Who Has the Most Followers on Instagram

25 of the Top Sports Icons Who Has the Most Followers on Instagram

Social media makes it easy for athletes to connect with their fans and followers, but have you ever wondered who has the most followers on Instagram among past and present sports icons? You’ll be surprised by who cracks the list, but also by how they compare to other global icons. 

Let’s be honest, we all secretly (or not so secretly) care too much about how many followers we have on Instagram — as well as other social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. It’s something we monitor closely, not only for our own accounts, but our favorite athletes too.

We all get the same little rush of excitement when we get a new follower, even if we don’t know who the follower is. For the athlete who has the most followers on Instagram, however, another follower might not mean as much — especially once you see how many followers they have!

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Who Has the Most Followers on Instagram Among Athletes?

25 of the Top Sports Icons Who Has the Most Followers on Instagram
Jose Breton – Pics Action / Shutterstock

In order to determine who has the most followers on Instagram among athletes, we need to shuffle through every athlete that’s currently on Instagram — no matter what sport they play. Yes, even those sports us Americans don’t watch as often as we should in the United States. 

I only say that because a majority of the biggest athletes in the United States only boast a couple million followers on Instagram — which is nothing compared to the more globally-known athletes. Even Shohei Ohtani only has 1.2 million followers, which doesn’t even come close.

Other stars that don’t come close to the top include Tom Brady (10.4 million), Bryce Harper (1.7 million), Patrick Mahomes (4.6 million), Mike Trout (1.9 million), Aaron Rodgers (1.8 million), Alexander Ovechkin (1.6 million), and Giannis Antetokounmpo (11 million).  

Now that we know some of the names that don’t crack the list, let’s see who has the most followers on Instagram among past and present sports icons!

25. Floyd Mayweather

Instagram Followers: 27.4 million

Sport: Boxing

Years: 1996-2017

Floyd Mayweather is one of the greatest boxers of all-time and arguably the greatest defensive boxer ever. He finished his professional career a perfect 50-0 and is a 15-time major world championship winner — including the lineal championship in four different weight classes. 

24. Zinedine Zidane

Instagram Followers: 30.2 million

Sport: Football (Soccer)

Years: 1989-2006

Zinedine Zidane last played soccer in 2006, but has been a coach for Real Madrid since 2013. During his playing days, he scored north of 14 goals in four different leagues, including 37 goals in LaLiga and 31 goals in Ligue 1. Of course, you can’t forget about his 31 goals with France. 

23. Sachin Tendulkar

Instagram Followers: 32.3 million

Sport: Cricket

Years: 1989-2013

Sachin Tendulkar was one of the greatest batsmen of all-time. He finished his 25-year career with 15,921 runs and 51 hundreds in Test matches, as well as 18,426 runs and 49 hundreds in ODI matches. No other cricket player has more combined Test and ODI runs in their career.

22. Stephen Curry

Instagram Followers: 37.7 million

Sport: Basketball

Years: 2009-present

Stephen Curry is one of the greatest shooters in basketball history and continues to prove why in 2021 at nearly 34 years old. He’s a seven-time All-Star, two-time scoring champ, one-time steals champ, two-time MVP, three-time NBA champion, and seven-time All-NBA player. 

21. Andres Iniesta

Instagram Followers: 38.1 million

Sport: Football (Soccer)

Years: 2000-present

Andrés Iniesta is one of the greatest midfielders to ever step foot on the field. He spent his prime years with Barcelona — appearing in 442 matches, scoring 35 goals, and being named captain for three years. He also appeared in 131 matches for Spain, scoring 13 national goals.

20. Luis Suárez

Instagram Followers: 42.3 million

Sport: Football (Soccer)

Years: 2005-present

Luis Suárez is one of the best strikers of all-time and currently plays for Atlético Madrid. He has won 19 major trophies in his career, including the Spanish Cup four times with Barcelona and Spanish Champion five times — four with Barcelona and once with Atlético Madrid in 2020-21. 

19. Conor McGregor

Instagram Followers: 43 million

Sport: Martial Arts

Years: 2008-present

In his prime, no one could touch Conor McGregor inside the octagon. He was the money fight of his generation and continues to fight for glory to this day — though he’s not as dominant as he once was. Either way, his energy is electric, his trash talk is on-point, and he has quite the ego.

18. Karim Benzema

Instagram Followers: 43.3 million

Sport: Football (Soccer)

Years: 2004-present

Karim Benzema has played 112 matches with Lyon, 395 matches with Real Madrid, and 94 matches with France — scoring a combined 281 goals. He scores with ease, but was recently handed a 12-month suspended prison sentence that could keep him away from the game. 

17. Paulo Dybala

Instagram Followers: 44.7 million

Sport: Football (Soccer)

Years: 2011-present

Paulo Dybala started his career with Istituto and Palermo, scoring 38 goals in 128 matches. In 2015, he signed with Juventus and won five-straight Serie A titles with them, as well as four Coppa Italia titles. He is currently the 11th all-time leading goal scorer for Juventus (75 goals). 

16. Gareth Bale

Instagram Followers: 45.5 million

Sport: Football (Soccer)

Years: 2006-present

Gareth Bale began his football career with Southampton and scored five goals in 40 matches. He made a name for himself at Tottenham Hotspur, scoring 42 goals in 146 matches before signing with Real Madrid — where he has 81 goals in 174 matches. He also plays for Wales. 

15. Mohamed Salah

Instagram Followers: 45.9 million

Sport: Football (Soccer)

Years: 2010-present

Mohamed Salah played for five different clubs from 2010-2017. He was a solid goal scorer everywhere he went, but has taken things to another level since signing with Liverpool — where he has 106 goals in 157 matches. He also has 45 goals in 73 national matches for Egypt. 

14. James Rodríguez

Instagram Followers: 47.6 million

Sport: Football (Soccer)

Years: 2006-present

James Rodríguez bounced around from 2006-2013 and played for four different clubs before signing with Real Madrid in 2014. He then signed with Everton in 2020 and Al-Rayyan in 2021. The Columbian football player has won 24 major trophies in his 16-year career thus far. 

13. Sergio Ramos

Instagram Followers: 48.5 million

Sport: Football (Soccer)

Years: 2003-present

One of the greatest defenders in football history, Sergio Ramos has enjoyed a prolific and illustrious 19-year career thus far. He won 22 major trophies with Real Madrid between 2005 and 2020, but is also a one-time World Cup winner and two-time European Champion with Spain. 

12. Paul Labile Pogba

Instagram Followers: 50.3 million

Sport: Football (Soccer)

Years: 2008-present

Paul Pogba burst onto the football scene with Manchester United’s U23 team from 2009 to 2011. After making it to their senior team, he didn’t see playing time and transferred to Juventus. After winning eight major trophies with Juventus, he transferred back to Manchester in 2016. 

11. Marcelo Vieira

Instagram Followers: 50.4 million

Sport: Football (Soccer)

Years: 2005-present

Arguably one of the greatest left-backs in football history, Marcelo Vieira has played for Real Madrid since 2007 and appeared in 377 matches for the club. In that time, he has secured 22 major trophies and scored 28 goals. He also won the Confederations Cup with Brazil in 2013.

10. Zlatan Ibrahimović

Instagram Followers: 51.4 million

Sport: Football (Soccer)

Years: 1999-present

Not only is Zlatan Ibrahimović the all-time leading goal scorer for Sweden (62 goals), but he has won 32 major trophies with six different clubs. He has been a top scorer seven times and has scored 402 goals since 1999. He currently plays for AC Milan in his third stint with the team.

9. Ronaldinho Gaúcho

Instagram Followers: 61.4 million

Sport: Football (Soccer)

Years: 1998-2015

Born Ronaldo de Assis Moreira and known as Ronaldinho Gaúcho, you won’t find another football player more creative than this man right here. Arguably one of the best of all-time, Ronaldinho won 15 major trophies in his career, including the Ballon D’Or trophy in 2005.

8. Kylian Mbappé

Instagram Followers: 62 million

Sport: Football (Soccer)

Years: 2014-present

Kylian Mbappé was just 16 years old when he started his senior career with Monaco, but joined Paris Saint-Germain on an initial loan just three years later. He scored 13 goals in 27 games on loan, but has scored 84 goals in 92 appearances since the transfer went permanent in 2018.

7. David Beckham

Instagram Followers: 69.6 million

Sport: Football (Soccer)

Years: 1992-2013

David Beckham is one of the most iconic and beloved football players of all-time, both on and off the field. He would go on to win 19 major trophies over an impressive 20-year career that included stints with Manchester United, Real Madrid, and LA Galaxy — and, of course, England. 

6. LeBron James

Instagram Followers: 103 million

Sport: Basketball

Years: 2003-present

LeBron James will go down as one of the greatest basketball players to ever live when he decides to retire. He has dominated the NBA ever since he was drafted out of high school in 2003. He’s a 17-time All-Star, four-time MVP, three-time champion, and four-time Finals MVP.

5. Neymar Jr.

Instagram Followers: 165 million

Sport: Football (Soccer)

Years: 2009-present

Neymar Jr. exploded onto the football scene with Santos from 2009-2013, scoring 107 goals in 177 matches with the team. He then spent five years with Barcelona (68 goals) before signing with Paris Saint-Germain (59 goals) in 2017. He also has 70 career national goals with Brazil. 

4. Virat Kohli

Instagram Followers: 169 million

Sport: Cricket

Years: 2008-present

Virat Kohli is widely regarded as the greatest batsman of all-time and continues to prove why in 2021. He has 7,765 runs and 27 hundreds in Test matches, 12,169 runs and 43 hundreds in ODI matches, and 10,014 runs and 34 hundreds in FC matches. No one has a better bat in cricket.

3. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson

Instagram Followers: 280 million

Sport: Wrestling 

Years: 1996-2019

Not all of Dwayne Johnson’s 280 million Instagram followers know him as an athlete, but that doesn’t mean he’s not one of the greatest and most iconic WWE superstars in history. Outside of the ring, he has continued his success as an actor, producer, businessman, and much more.

2. Lionel Messi

Instagram Followers: 284 million

Sport: Football (Soccer)

Years: 2003-present

Lionel Messi is widely regarded as the greatest football player in the world and of all-time. He played for Barcelona from 2004-2021, scoring 474 goals in 520 matches, before signing with Paris Saint-Germain in 2021. He has won six Ballon D’Or awards, which is an all-time record.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo

Instagram Followers: 370 million

Sport: Football (Soccer) 

Years: 2001-present

Along with Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo is regarded as one of the greatest players of all-time. The two have battled it out over the past 18 years. Ronaldo has scored 88 goals for Manchester United, 311 goals for Real Madrid, 81 goals for Juventus, and 115 national goals for Portugal. 

Who Has the Most Followers on Instagram Among All Users?

As you can see, the football (soccer) community is extremely large on Instagram with 18 of the 25 athletes listed above being soccer players. In fact, 15 of those soccer players are still active. The other seven athletes are from cricket (2), the NBA (2), WWE (1), UFC (1), and boxing (1). 

Now that you know who has the most followers on Instagram among athletes, you might be wondering how those athletes compare to other celebrities, role models, icons, and influencers. Of course, no one has more followers than Instagram’s official account at 443 million followers. 

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While Ronaldo, Messi, and Dwayne Johnson are the only athletes in the top-ten, the rest of that list includes Kylie Jenner (283M), Ariana Grande (278M), Selena Gomez (275M), Kim Kardashian (265M), Beyoncé (220M), Justin Bieber (205M), and Kendall Jenner (201M).

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