Cristiano Ronaldo is the most popular World Cup footballer, according to Facebook, with the social networking site confirming he has nearly as many fans as Neymar and Lionel Messi combined.

Facebook revealed the most popular players from 31 of the teams at the World Cup - Iran don't have any players listed on the site - and have assembled a 'most liked XI' of the competition. But despite the expected crop of global heroes vying for the crown, it is Ronaldo who has romped home as football's ultimate Facebook darling.

Ronaldo's popularity

The Portuguese superstar has over 89 million likes on the page, compared to Brazilian striker Neymar Jr.'s 32 million and Messi's 60 million fans.

The Real Madrid man's Portugal side were unceremoniously dumped out of the competition at the group stage, which has left him with plenty of time to check his notifications and poke opposition players.

Other contenders

Spain's Iker Casillas is the most popular goal-keeper with over 20 million likes, behind a back four of Bacary Sagna (1.9m), David Luiz (13m), Raphael Varane (2.7m) and Fabio Coentrao (5m).

Andres Iniesta and Mesut Ozil are sat in central midfield positions, with over 41 million likes between them, behind the mouth-watering power trio of Ronaldo, Neymar and Messi. Manchester United and England's Wayne Rooney - who scored his first ever World Cup goal against Uruguay in a 2-1 defeat that knocked the Three Lions out of the tournament - leads the line.

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His 22m+ likes makes him by far the most popular English player in the world, and the Merseyside-born superstar would be happy to hear he's been chosen to play as the focal point of such a formidable attack.

On paper, this virtual team reads almost like an all-star squad of talent, until you consider that on grass, five of the 11 starters were knocked out of the competition in the group stage.

Perhaps it was all a ploy to allow themselves more time to hone their social media presences.

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