Cristiano Ronaldo Trumps Lionel Messi, Wins Race to Become World's Most Admired Athlete

© AP Photo / Rui VieiraManchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo during the English Premier League soccer match between Norwich City and Manchester United at Carrow road in Norwich, England, Saturday, Dec.11, 2021
Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo during the English Premier League soccer match between Norwich City and Manchester United at Carrow road in Norwich, England, Saturday, Dec.11, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.12.2021
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Five-time Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo is among a select band of sports stars who are well respected, admired, and loved at the same time. CR7's craze among the fans is such that his combined number of social media admirers stands at more than 630 million. Additionally, he's the only person to have over 350 million followers on Instagram.
Manchester United ace Cristiano Ronaldo has emerged as the most admired athlete in the world, an international survey conducted by global market research firm YouGov has revealed.
Meanwhile, Lionel Messi, the Portuguese wizard's long-time rival, is the second most admired sports star on the planet, followed by Indian cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli.
On the other hand, the overall rankings were topped by former US President Barack Obama, who retained his position from last year, ahead of Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
Chinese President Xi Jinping was third behind the American billionaire and philanthropist, with Ronaldo trailing him at fourth.
While Ronaldo was ahead of the PSG forward in the overall list, it was Messi who saw a spectacular rise in his position, as he jumped to seventh from eleventh earlier - his highest ranking to date.
Despite his great surge in placement, alongside his record-extending seventh Ballon d'Or triumph last month, Messi is still three places behind Ronaldo in the prestigious list.
The prime factor behind Ronaldo beating Messi in the race could be his status of a social media behemoth, as Ronaldo's influence reaches far beyond dictating football matches.
The former Real Madrid star has more than 376 million followers on Instagram, 150 million followers on Facebook, and more than 96 million followers on Twitter.
Surprisingly, though, apart from this duo of superstar footballers, there are only two other sportspersons in the top-20 of YouGov's survey - India's legendary cricketer Tendulkar, arguably the best batsman in history, and the current captain of the national Test team, Kohli.
While Tendulkar is ranked 12th, Kohli is at the 18th position.
But the top ranking Indian on the list is Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who occupies the 8th position on the charts, a spot behind Messi.
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