Using the not-very-scientific method of counting Facebook “likes,” Cristiano Ronaldo is the most popular athlete in the world, easily outpacing his La Liga rival, Lionel Messi.
The chart below also gives us a glimpse at just how far soccer is ahead of other sports in terms of popularity as the six most popular athletes are all soccer players and combined (342.8 million) they have 100 million more likes than the next 12 athletes combined (238.7 million).
Interestingly, the most popular American athlete is Michael Jordan, who hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2002-03 season.
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