Modern football is much more than 22 men chasing a ball. Over the course of years, the sport has evolved to be more dramatic and glamorous.
We have seen players bossing on and off the pitch. They have become a brand in themselves, at times earning more off the pitch than on it.
Factors like endorsements, brand deals, promotions, etc. play a massive role in determining a player's brand value these days. A major credit for a player's evolution as a brand goes to the most popular social media platform — Instagram.
Instagram users are keen on their favorite players' lifestyles, fashion sense, fitness regime, football training routine and personal lives. Thus, it paves the way for football stars to receive a massive following and likeness on Instagram. The same has also resulted in major brands approaching footballers for paid promotions.
In this article, let's take a deep dive in order to find out which player earns the most per Instagram post.
Top 10 footballers who make the most money per Instagram post
#10 Sergio Aguero — $94,800
Sergio Aguero boasts 20.4m followers on Instagram as of now. The Argentine goes by the name Kun Aguero on the social media platform. His switch to Barcelona this summer made the former Manchester City striker the talk of the town.
La Liga can't compare itself against the Premier League's reach and fame. However the move has helped Sergio Aguero. Mostly because football fans were excited about the union of Sergio Aguero and his national teammate and dear friend — Lionel Messi.
Even though the fate had something else in waiting, Aguero benefitted from the whole scenario. Despite being fluent in English, Aguero mostly uses the Spanish language on Instagram. That made him a quick favorite amidst the La Liga faithful who are infamous for having strong feelings towards non-Spanish speaking players.
Aguero's Instagram posts see about 1.5m likes on average. The Barcelona man earns around $94,800 per Instagram post.
#9 Luis Suarez — $221,000
Luis Suarez isn't a conventional 'Instagrammer'. The Uruguayan's posts aren't as glamorous or happening as his peers. Luis Suarez's Instagram posts mostly revolve around family or training.
The Atletico Madrid striker also earns a handsome share from brand deals and paid partnerships. He recently endorsed a crypto currency brand that has already crossed 1.5 million views.
The former Barcelona number 9 has 42.2 million followers on Instagram and is fairly active on the social media platform. Suarez also experienced a lot of engagement to the posts from his international outings.
On 1st of August, 2021, Luis Suarez posted a vacation picture of him along with his former teammate and dearest friend Lionel Messi. The post received over 2.6 million likes and is one of the most liked pictures of the forward in recent times.
As per reports, Suarez earns about 221,000 USD per Instagram post.
#8 Mohamed Salah — $231,000
Mohamed Salah's journey from being just another player to one of the best strikers in the world happened in a jiffy. Although Salah's fame shot up instantly after joining Liverpool, a lot went behind the Egyptian's fame in terms of blood, sweat and tears.
Mo Salah spent a below-par stint with Basel and Chelsea before moving to Roma. His heroics in Serie A earned him a ticket to Anfield in 2017 and the rest is history. Salah is one of the most followed players in the EPL and has 45.6 million followers on Instagram.
The Egyptian international earns about $231,000 per post on Instagram.
#7 Gareth Bale — $238,000
Gareth Bale came into the limelight after his hat-trick for Tottenham Hotspur against Inter Milan in the 2010 Champions League. He was picked by Real Madrid a couple of seasons later and became the most-expensive player in 2013.
Bale has never been off the media. There's always news that revolves around the former Tottenham man. That bicycle goal vs Liverpool in the 2018 UCL final, tiff with Zidane, 'Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order', the list goes on.
Real Madrid's top earning player is also one of the top earners on Instagram. He collects $238,000 per IG post.
#6 Zlatan Ibrahimovic — $259,000
The football world is keen to know the secret behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic's fitness. At the age of 40, the AC Milan striker is still bossing the game and is better than a bunch of players who are half his age.
Zlatan is a renowned player across Europe after having played for numerous top clubs in the continent. The Swedish international has 51.2 million followers on Instagram. Loved for his narcissism and self-centeredness, Zlatan Ibrahimovic set a trend that often revolves around him addressing himself as a third person.
The same resulted in various memes circulating through the internet. Zlatan's Instagram posts mostly involve paid partnerships, pictures with fellow footballers and training clips.
#5 Ronaldinho — $301,000
It has been almost a decade since the Brazilian maestro quit football at the top level. After departing from AC Milan in 2011, Ronaldinho spent another 4-5 years in Brazil and Mexico.
Ronaldinho's fame and reach has only increased ever since his retirement from top-tier football. Instagram didn't gain much of a popularity during Ronaldinho's final playing years. However, the former Barcelona forward ended up being a regular user of the social media platform. That earned him millions of followers and engagements from across the globe.
Ronaldinho has 61 million followers on Instagram as of now.
#4 David Beckham — $362,000
Perhaps David Beckham was the first-ever player to be a brand in himself. A combination of handsome face, striking personality, superior football talent and the gentleman's image helped David Beckham achieve massive fame.
He was often used as the face of the club. Manchester United endorsed the club in Asian countries with Beckham as the face of their campaign to achieve more reach. His celebrity status amplified due to his relationship with pop star Victoria and his signing for Real Madrid.
While all this happened in the pre-Instagram era, David Beckham remains a popular figure even after retirement. The former England player boasts 69.4 million followers and earns a whopping $362,000 per post.
#3 Neymar Junior — $824,000
Neymar Junior can be described as one of the most fashionable and whacky sports celebrities ever. He is known to be a style icon and is vastly looked upon by youngsters all around the world.
After creating wonders at Santos, Neymar was signed by Barcelona in 2013. Alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, Neymar wreaked havoc in Europe. The Brazilian then moved to PSG in 2017 for a world record fee of €222 million.
He is one of the most popular footballers to have ever graced the game. Neymar is an ambassador for numerous brands and is one of the highest earning sports personalities. Neymar has 165 million Instagram followers.
#2 Lionel Messi — $1,169,000
Lionel Messi is one of the most followed personalities on Instagram. He has 282 million followers and the Argentine captain earns $1,169,000 per post.
After his shocking move to Paris Saint-Germain this summer, Lionel Messi made headlines for a brief period. The same resulted in the former Barca striker's fame touching new heights. Messi is a complete family man and his Instagram account reflects the same.
Leo Messi is an active user of the social media platform and posts regularly about his training and family life. Leo Messi's training videos receive high engagement, and he enjoys an average of 7m to 9m likes per post.
The six-time Ballon d'Or winner is one of the highest earning sports stars in the world.
#1 Cristiano Ronaldo — $1,604,000
The intense battle between Cristiano and Messi continues on Instagram as well. With 366 million followers, Cristiano Ronaldo owns the most followed Instagram individual account.
An epitome of fitness and youthfulness, Cristiano Ronaldo continues to inspire the masses and earns a massive fan following in return. The Portuguese captain's reputation goes far beyond football and crosses all barriers. He is arguably considered the most famous human alive.
With such reputation comes great returns and the former Real Madrid man earns the most in terms of money per Instagram post. Cristiano Ronaldo's Instagram feed is a combination of training videos, brand endorsements and family pictures.
Ronaldo's Instagram post, in which he announced his partner's pregnancy, is the second most liked post on Instagram. The post hit 31.8 million likes and is still counting.
Cristiano Ronaldo is probably the only player in the history of football whose brand value exceeds that of any club.