Data from global football publisher Goal proves that despite early exists, Ronaldo and Messi were still the stars of the 2018 World Cup, with Neymar close behind.
Over the course of the World Cup, more than 159 million fans engaged with Goal through a combination of its websites, mobile apps and social accounts, 111 million of which came through its 38 international websites.
Using the website data, the publisher has revealed that, despite Messi’s Argentina and Ronaldo’s Portugal failure to make it beyond the round of 16, both players dominated user interest, with Neymar in third place.
Highlighting the competition between the two players, Ronaldo narrowly beat Messi to be the player responsible for generating the most traffic to Goal, with 10.3 million page views attributed to the Portuguese attacker.
Messi was only a half a million behind Ronaldo, with 9.8 million page views attributed to the Argentinian forward. In analysing player data, non-World Cup content is excluded (e.g. Ronaldo’s Juventus transfer).
Neymar’s on-field theatrics earned him plenty of attention in Russia. However, the world’s most expensive player could only bring in just over half of the page views that both Ronaldo and Messi delivered, generating six million page views.
Behind Neymar, in terms of global page views were Kylian Mbappe (3.1 million), Luka Modric (2.5 million), Antoine Griezmann (2.1 million), Harry Kane (2 million), Mohammed Salah (1.4 million), and Romelu Lukaku (1.2 million).
James Dickens, Goal’s Global Editor-in-chief, said: “Being able to cater for global football fans puts us in an enviable position at Goal and presents us with data that helps us to understand them better.
“Publishers and brands recognise that Ronaldo and Messi won’t last for ever and that new stars will have to take their place. Russia 2018 is regarded by many as the both players’ final World Cup, giving us four years to find their heirs.”