Cristiano Ronaldo made history on Tuesday, becoming the first athlete to score over 100 million Facebook fans. The Real Madrid player now has 30 million more fans than his soccer rival Lionel Messi.
"I'm so honored to have reached 100 million likes on Facebook. It's amazing to achieve this incredible milestone and connecting with all the fans around the world. Their outstanding support inspires me and I thank them all," says Ronaldo.
Pop superstar Shakira is the only person to reach Ronaldo's level of Facebook likes.
Ronaldo thanks his Facebook fans in a video. "Since I was a little boy, I always dreamed about beautiful moments like this," he writes during a montage of his childhood soccer photos that lead up videos of some of his most memorable goals in his career. "I'm proud to be one of the world's most-liked public figures on Facebook."
With a little less than 74 million likes, rival Lionel Messi is the second most popular athlete on Facebook and ranks ninth among Facebook users worldwide. However, there are more Barcelona Facebook fans. Messi's team has 77 million likes, compared to Madrid's 75 million.
Ronaldo scored 18 goals in the 14 games he started this season for Real Madrid, making 13 goals in six games.
Ronaldo was the second highest-paid athlete from 2013 to 2014, earning a pre-tax amount of $80 million. That includes $52 million from his salary and $28 million from endorsements.
He recently posted six messages over the span of two days, promoting the watch brand Tag Heuer. The posts received approximately 35 million Facebook hits and 2.4 million likes, a little less than $500,000 for the watch brand.
The two-time FIFA player of the year's most popular Facebook post was a photo with his son that received 3.4 million likes.
On Twitter, Ronaldo is the sixth most-followed athlete globally, with 30.5 million Twitter followers.