It’s been years football nations and experts have been building up cases on who is today’s best soccer player, Messi or Ronaldo?

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi battling on social media
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi battling on social media by @Aidystudio

Don’t get it twisted, we love to pick side. Regardless the outcome, picking side has been a part of us since the earliest days of mankind. So, we won’t change it now.

As their on-pitch performance are so out-of-our world, here at DUSE we decided to go further, by analyzing which one of those two genius is the most bankable for his sports brand endorser. We all know the deal, CR7 is the Nike guy while Messi is the Adidas prodigy. Then suddenly, we start to see a crack in that head-to-head matchup.

Usually, we would struggle to find common ground. But here, the stage has been set properly, as they are both playing in the same league: – literally and figuratively. Literally because obviously, they both competing for the crown of La Liga and figuratively simply because, well, for the last decade, they’ve been “sharing” the Ballon d’Or. Which naturally put them in the upper level of the top paid athletes. Finally, they both signed a lifetime contract with the two biggest sports brand in our galaxy.   So far, here is nothing new, right? So, buckle up as we will corner an interesting side of their ever-ongoing match up for the best of the best.

Simply put, winning is everything when it comes to this guys. In 2016, we can clearly see a major leap from the Portuguese. Based on the study from … CR7 260 million followers on social media significantly helped Nike to gain around half a billion euros. Yes, you read it right, CR7 brought in 500 million in one year to the swoosh. For example, his post on social media right after Portugal won the Euro 2016 in Paris  brought in 5.8 million € to the Swoosh. Thanks to 13K comments and 1.7 million share.

On the other hand, Lio doesn’t box in the same category. The 53.5 million he brought to Adidas seems to be a pale comparison to his nemesis’ numbers.  Yet, Messi most rentable post in 2016  generate 2.5 million likes and brought in 3.6 million to Adidas. Regardless the fact his numbers don’t match with the ones of CR7, those remain some impressive numbers for any other athletes.


Excellence is what keeps those guys in a galaxy of their own. The NFL (National Football League) is the richest sport league in the world with 27 NFL teams making the Forbes 50 most valuable sports teams. In comparison, the NFL is racking up a bit more than 140 million followers. Messi, itself is racking up 156 million followers on social media. Not bad for an individual playing a different kind of football.

To truly understand the magnitude of those two global stars on social media, it would be fair to put them in direct comparison with the US top athletes. According to Digital Sport, the five most followed athletes in America are Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and Michael Jordan. Those five athletes are piling a cumulative of a bit more than 210 million followers across the three platforms.  Ronaldo itself has more than 266 million followers.Followers_Pie

CR7 is only trailing Taylor Swift on top of the most followed person on social media. Let’s flip the script, between the 5th of September 2014 and the 5th of September 2015 Taylor Swift gained 34 million followers. The craziest thing about it, according to CR7 ‘s audience growth of 5.1 million with 80.2 million social interaction in the past 30 days alone. Kevin Durant on the other hand, has lost 8.1 million followers in last 30 days. Seems like it is fair to say that Cristiano Ronaldo is as swift off the pitch that he is with the ball. Clear advantage to CR7 who could quickly take the crown from Taylor Swift…all this, for the biggest pleasure of the Swoosh.

Jay Brizzy