Ronaldo leads Messi in fan stakes

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Lionel Messi broke new ground in European football following his goalscoring exploits with Barcelona last season, but the campaign ended somewhat bittersweet as Real Madrid claimed the Spanish title.

The Argentine superstar won the modern game's greatest individual rivalry by claiming the Pichichi Trophy ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo, but the latter managed to have the last laugh with his team's achievements.

A sum of 13 club goals separated the pair last term as Messi reigned supreme in the personal stakes, but the dominance of the Barcelona forward does not translate when it comes to matters away from the game.

It would be fair to assume that, given his on-field exploits for perhaps the finest team to ever grace a football pitch, Messi would command a greater following in the social media sphere than his Real Madrid counterpart.

However, it is Ronaldo who can claim bragging rights when it comes to social media, with the Portugal captain boasting a staggering nine million more fans on Facebook compared to his Barca rival.

Ronaldo's Facebook fanbase stands at an astronomical 46.3 million and makes him the most 'liked' professional athlete in the world.

Although Ronaldo and Messi are by far and away the most popular footballers in social media, they can not claim to be the most 'talked about' player on Facebook.

That honour goes to Andres Iniesta, no doubt thanks to his displays of wizardry as Spain clinched the Euro 2012 title, with over one million of the Barcelona midfielder's 10.2 million fans engaging with him.

Top ten Facebook players in full:

1) Cristiano Ronaldo - 46.3m

2) Lionel Messi - 37m

3) David Beckham - 19.5m

4) Kaka - 17.3m

5) Andres Iniesta - 10.2m

6) Fernando Torres - 10.1m

7) Wayne Rooney - 9.4m

8) Steven Gerrard - 7.1m

9) David Villa - 6.1m

10) Mesut Ozil - 5.7m

European News
Premier League
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