There is only one way to decide which footballer is truly the greatest in the history of the sport.
The amount of goals they've scored is irrelevant, as are their on-field performances and silverware collection. Even the number of individual awards they've racked up makes no difference to their claim of being the GOAT. All that matters is how many Twitter followers they have.
That instantly rules Barcelona legend Lionel Messi out of contention, but surely no one believed he was the world's best footballer, right? The Argentine steers clear of most social media sites, though many of his colleagues are rather prolific with their tweeting.
Here's a look at the 15 most followed footballers on Twitter, with several surprise inclusions on the list.
15. Xabi Alonso
Xabi Alonso was an expert at performing under pressure during his playing days, with his club trophy haul hitting double figures in the Spaniard's final season as a professional.
He's equally adept at handling the stress of getting his point across in 280 characters or less, regularly posting insightful, heart-warming messages, whilst also throwing in the odd picture of himself looking classy. He always looks classy.
14. David de Gea
It's official: David de Gea is the finest goalkeeper the game has ever seen. As the highest ranking shot-stopper on this list, the Manchester United stalwart beats off the likes of Oliver Kahn and Iker Casillas to earn that illustrious title.
The 28-year-old owes much of his prestige to the Red Devils, who have provided a platform for De Gea to show his skills to the world, though he isn't a million miles behind United's official Twitter account in terms of followers.
13. Sergio Aguero
Otro muy buen trabajo de todo el equipo. A seguir así! // Another great performance from the whole team. Let's keep up the pace! 蘭 C'mon, City! pic.twitter.com/p67XsjTtLB— Sergio Kun Aguero (@aguerosergiokun) August 31, 2019
Despite securing the treble in 2018/19, Manchester City's star-studded team has failed to dominate the social media sphere, much like how they've struggled to conquer Europe.
Talismanic forward Sergio Aguero is - pretty unsurprisingly - the Sky Blues' best performer when it comes to Twitter. Given he's the club's greatest goalscorer of all time, that seems appropriate.
12. Luis Suarez
English football supporters don't have much love for Luis Suarez, yet their distaste for the Uruguayan has had no obvious impact on his popularity across the globe.
The Barcelona striker has hit many goalscoring landmarks since leaving his home country in 2006 and you're likely to find him celebrating them with his growing army of followers.
11. Sergio Ramos
Sergio Ramos has plenty to say about plenty of things, often giving his two cents on topic via a thread of tweets. Whether or not you agree with what he writes, the World Cup winner's musings are always of interest.
No player in the history of La Liga has amassed more yellow and red cards than Ramos, demonstrating his bullish attitude, with that hot-head of his making for some memorable posts on social media.
10. Wayne Rooney
Sadly misrepresented as a bad guy by the UK press, Wayne Rooney has shown his delicate, compassionate side on Twitter in recent years.
Wazza's sentimentality is actually quite touching, the former England captain frequently uploading images of his young children or a tribute to the DC United fan-base.
9. Radamel Falcao
If you have 25,000 people awaiting your arrival at a new club, you're probably no stranger to the limelight. As Radamel Falcao stepped off the plane to finalise his move to Galatasaray in September, that was the sight that greeted the veteran forward.
It's no wonder the Colombian icon has so many followers after a stellar career in Europe. More than just a goal machine, Falcao made his name by scoring stunners on the regular for the likes of Porto and Atletico Madrid. Let's just forget about how his two years in England went.
8. Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale is the poster boy of Welsh football, but his 18.2m fans can't all come from the land of dragons - the country's population is almost six times smaller than his Twitter following.
Though the winger has been in conflict with Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane since the latter's return to the Bernabeu, Bale remains positive in his posts, handing out praise for teammates and always offering reasons to be cheerful.
7. James Rodriguez
Falcao may be big on social media, yet he isn't the top-ranking Colombian. That honour belongs to silky playmaker James Rodriguez, who's currently working his way back into the hearts of Real Madrid supporters.
Los Blancos' fan-base were distinctly underwhelmed following his £64m switch from Monaco in 2014, leading to a loan spell at Bayern Munich.
Rodriguez is looking back to his old self having returned to Madrid in the summer, yet his poor performances in recent seasons did little to harm his online reputation.
6. Gerard Pique
Football may not be the only factor in Gerard Pique's successful stint on Twitter - the fact he's married to superstar singer Shakira would have no doubt boosted his follower numbers.
Still, the centre-back had to work hard to make himself so well-known, finding his way back to boyhood club
5. Mesut Ozil
It seems you don't need to have the backing of your own fans to grow your online following, as demonstrated by Mesut Ozil. Arsenal supporters lost their patience with the German several seasons ago, but the good people of Twitter have nonetheless pledged themselves to him.
There are countless footballers in far better form than Ozil, with the vast majority of them having a strong relationship with the crowd. However, only four of his competitors can beat the midfielder when it comes to tweeting.
4. Andres Iniesta
A stylish, virtuoso talent like Andres Iniesta was always going to prove a hit on Twitter. Of course, choosing to end his playing days in Japan was also useful in gaining new followers from Asia.
As is the case with many players on this list, the Spaniard is fond of posting inspirational messages, along with dramatic shots of him in action and homages to his beloved Barcelona.
No one on the planet has a bad word to say about Kaka. He's just such a likeable human being and that's reflected in his online presence.
The Brazilian hung up his boots in 2017 following a brief stay in the MLS with Orlando City, yet his Tweeting days are far from over. Kaka remains rather active on the website, letting fans know how he's spending his time post-retirement.
There's a sizeable gap between third place and second. Given that the runner-up is a man of Neymar's standing and prestige, that is to be expected. Everyone knows exactly who the Paris Saint-Germain forward is.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo is always trending on Twitter. People are invariably talking about the Portuguese phenomenon, discussing his rivalry with Messi, stupidly-good goal count, and countless other topics.
More than just a footballer, Ronaldo is a global brand, which is demonstrated by his status as the sixth most-followed person on the social media website.
Sure, Barack Obama is the overall winner, but has the former president mastered the knuckle-ball technique?
For more from Ed Alexander, follow him on Twitter!
Source : 90min