ANNOUNCED: The Facebook World Cup XI

ANNOUNCED: The Facebook World Cup XI

11 players, 449 million collective Facebook followers. We've put together a team of the most popular players on Facebook to feature at this year's FIFA World Cup.

Key takeaways:

  • Cristiano Ronaldo is the most popular player on Facebook with 122m likes.

  • Only one Premier League player makes it in the starting eleven.

  • Spain's La Liga has the most players in the starting lineup.

  • Paul Pogba has to make do with a place on the bench.

  • Spanish players prove most popular.

Their footballing ability, personality, likeability, media coverage and overall content are all large contributing factors to the online success of these stars.


Football, as you’re probably well aware, albeit extremely lucrative, is a temporary industry for most players. To combat this, many are making the most of social media to promote themselves as marketable brands, which helps to boost sponsorships and provides a substantial income for when the time comes to hang up their boots.

For example, Cristiano Ronaldo, who is the most followed footy star on the planet, has recently added a soccer drama that will air exclusively on Facebook to his growing list of non-sporting deals.

While these sorts of contracts are being signed, Ronny and his fellow Knapton Wright World Cup Facebook XI teammates are still raking it in with sponsored posts for multiple brands across their social channels.

It’s interesting that no British players make it into the Knapton Wright squad, although the UK does boast the likes of Gareth Bale and David Beckham, who are not at the tournament for various reasons but still boast an impressive 28m and 53m Facebook likes respectively.

Despite being one of the youngest, Raheem Sterling is the England squad member with the most likes on Facebook with 2.2m. Interestingly, Sterling is the player who many would agree receives the most criticism from the press.

Other noteworthy stars that, while fortunate enough to make it to their nation’s World Cup squads, are not social media savvy enough to get into our current starting eleven are:

These, of course, make it onto the subs bench, should anyone break a metatarsal (Wayne Rooney in Euro 2004, anyone?).

Once again, Paul Pogba is a figure that sparks debate. His marketability is clear to see, hence why the likes of Adidas contributed to his much-talked-about, multimillion pound move to Manchester United in 2016. And yet, he appears fairly low down in terms of a Facebook following.

Could this have something to do with him paying more attention to Snapchat and Instagram, where he boasts a huge following? Or maybe it's more to do with the league in which he plays. The Premier League is way behind the stars of Spain's La Liga - which boasts seven out of the eleven. The German Bundesliga takes up two spots, while Neymar is Ligue 1's only starter.

There is just one Premier League player in the starting eleven: Mesüt Özil (with Mo Salah having to make do with a place on the bench). A poor turn-out for what is often referred to as the most lucrative and popular league in the world.

What are your thoughts?

How close the Knapton Wright Facebook World Cup XI will be to the Team of the Tournament remains to be seen. In the meantime, we’d love to know who your favourite players to follow on social media are. Let us know on Facebook and Twitter using #KWWorldCupXI!

Ollie Wilkinson
Content Marketing Executive
Knapton Wright Ltd.

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