Cristiano Ronaldo is the most talked-about player on Facebook

Portugal forward came out on top with 3.6m Facebook ‘likes’ by the end of Euro ’16

The Euro 2016 championships may already be a fading memory for Irish fans, but for they made Cristiano Ronaldo the most talked-about player on Facebook.

The Real Madrid forward’s name had pulling power for the duration of the games in France, with Ronaldo starting strong and remaining a Facebook favourite by the end of Euro 2016.

The superstar Portuguese player was the favourite topic of conversation for the tournament, according to Newswhip. com, despite his involvement coming to a premature end in the final due to injury.

Newswhip used its data to calculate Facebook interactions, including likes, shares and comments for stories that contained the players’ names as keywords.


Ronaldo came out on top for total engagement, notching up 3.9 million interactions – more than double the amount for second place Luca Modric. That included more than 13,000 articles about the player and 3.6 million likes.

Wales and Real Madrid player Gareth Bale rounded out the top three.

Northern Ireland striker Will Grigg managed to notch up a 1,755 per cent increase in engagements over the course of the tournament – despite not playing in any of the games. Rather, Grigg went viral thanks to a supporters chant, "Will Grigg's on fire", which was even picked up by football legend Eric Cantona in an online video.

However, Griggs’s engagement level of more than 25,000 in the second half of the tournament was significantly lower than French forward Antoine Griezmann, who saw a rise of 914 per cent, to more than 743,000.

Learning just what excites Facebook users enough to get the sharing will be crucial for publishers, who are facing changes to the social network’s news feed that will see priority given to posts from friends and family of users.

“Organic sharing” is set to become more crucial if publishers want to stay visible in Facebook newsfeeds, Newswhip said.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist