When it comes to influential players in football, one would usually look at someone who possess great leadership qualities or has an eye for goal, in the case of someone such as Cristiano Ronaldo or Harry Kane it has a tendency to be both.
But what if there was a different way to measure just how influential a player is, thankfully the people at Primetag have done exactly this. They have looked at just how many Instagram followers the best players in the world currently have and from this they have made an all star team ready to take on any opposition.
With a 4-5-1 formation, it is a particularly attacking setup and one would have to question that for all their attacking personnel who will act a screen in the middle of the park, but let’s not worry about too much as we take a look at who has made the influential eleven.
David De Gea may have slipped up against Portugal in the group stages but he is backed by 9.8m followers on instagram as the most followed goalkeeper.
Sergio Ramos is one of two Real Madrid full backs, he perhaps has not played at right back in a long time but that does not matter all that much as he has 24.1m instagram followers
Marcelo has been tasked with surging down the left and he is backed by 25.9m followers, the most popular defender in the world right now
While the Brazilian international is joined by compatriot Thiago Silva in the back four, the PSG defender is not quite as popular Marcelo but at the same time he cannot complain with the fact he has 12.8m followers on Instagram.
The final piece of the defensive quartet is made up by Gerard Pique, the Barcelona centre back who is married to Colombian singer Shakira weighs in with a respectable 16.4m followers.
But what about the midfield, Paul Pogba will have his work cut out trying to protect this back four and with 23m Instagram followers, many will wonder if he will be more focused on the game or his image.
Also in the centre of the park is legendary Spanish midfielder Andres Iniesta, the former Barcelona player will soon be plying his trade in Japan and you would imagine that his follower count will rise even further from the 23.3m that he currently has.
However both Pogba and Iniesta are dwarfed by Colombian star James Rodriguez, he weighs in with no fewer than 37m followers on Instagram. He is influential for his country and the same can be said when it comes to social media.
From here though we see a huge step change in terms of followers when we look at the final three players that make up the team. There is not a lot of difference between our two wide forwards who show huge amounts of social media influence.
First up is Lionel Messi, his goal helped Argentina progress to the knockout stages of the 2018 FIFA World Cup and it is fair to say that his 92.8m followers would have been delighted that the Barcelona forward is not going home early.
He is joined in the influential starting eleven by a former teammate, this comes in the form of now PSG forward Neymar. He just edges out Messi as the second most followed player on Instagram with 94.2m fans.
So who completes the line up I hear you ask? Well it could only be one player couldn’t it. That of course being Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese icon spearheads this talented team with a very influential following of no fewer than 128.4m
To give that some context Cristiano Ronaldo has more Instagram followers than the population of Japan, a simply staggering amount of social media influence it must be said.
The breakdown of our influential eleven sees no room for English talent with Harry Kane having to make do with a place in the reserves.In terms of nationality, the break down is as follows:
While if we look at it from a continental point of view, it looks as follows:
South America 5
So it is fair to say a good blend of South American flair and European discipline, and with that kind of line up the World Cup influential team would surely go on to conquer the globe.
Thanks to Primetag for supplying the data and you can also access it too thanks to their very impressive dashboard of social data that they have collated during the tournament.
I am always available for any football data projects you may have and/or content creation.
If you have any requirements then please feel free to contact me at email@example.com with the subject line “Football Data”
I am also available via twitter at @dantracey1983 – again feel free to get in touch to discuss any work. Thanks, Dan