32 countries will play for the World Cup in the next four weeks. Portugal can already look forward to a victory in the social media rankings. The football players of the current European champion have in total over 360 million followers on the three major platforms Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The undisputed leader among the individual players is Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese superstar has an incredible 320 million fans or followers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Thanks to Ronaldo, Portugal took first place in the ranking, followed by Brazil and Spain with 350 million and 333 million supporters respectively. The German team, the current World Cup champion, has a total of 238 million followers, putting it in fifth place with an interesting fact: Ronaldo has more followers than the entire German football team. Iceland came last in the evaluation. The players of the Nordic island state have less than 1 million followers.

These are the main findings of a social media study conducted by the international PR network ECCO. For the study, ECCO's experts analyzed the social media activities of all 23 football players of the 32 World Cup participants. In total, ECCO agencies analysed 736 players worldwide. For the evaluation, the number of followers and fans on the social platforms Facebook, Instagram and Twitter was added together.Players have a total of 2.5 billion followers on the social media channels Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 89% of all players are active on social networks and have at least one account. On Instagram alone, players have a total of around 1.1 billion followers. This corresponds to a share of 43 %. Instagram is clearly the number 1. 81% of all 736 players have an Instagram account.

Every team has its social media star. The 32 first-place winners each have in total around 1.2 billion followers. This means that 32 players account for 47% of the total number of followers. The head of the study, Patrick Sutter, explains: "The top players turn their own name into a brand and are among the most important influencers in the digital world. Their reach makes them attractive brand ambassadors for companies. Almost all football professionals worldwide now use social networks, only 11% are still digital deniers".

Brazilians particularly active in the networks

In six countries, all players dribble through the three social networks examined. The Brazilians are the most present. Every player from Brazil is active in the networks, with South American footballers playing on 63 of a maximum of 69 platforms. 22 of the 23 players in the German team are active in the social networks. With Jonas Hector only one athlete has no account. Most of them are represented on all three channels. In total there are 59 out of 69 possible channels.

The PR network ECCO has also investigated on which platform players reach the most fans and followers. The result: Instagram is number one with a share of 43%, Facebook with 33% and Twitter with 24%.

Here is the ranking of the 32 teams by followers: