Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo has been named the most popular footballer online in China for the fourth straight year.
The 11th annual Red Card report by digital sports agency Mailman has found that the Premier League has continued to make waves in the Far East at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has prevented travel.
While Barcelona were again the most popular club online in China, the Premier League has been named top European football league for a fourth straight year.
Chelsea are second in the club popularity ranking and United rose from sixth to third, thanks in part to Ronaldo’s return to Old Trafford.
The Portuguese is an official ambassador for short-form video platform Kuaishou, where the report says his launch led the 37-year-old’s following to grow by 7.7 million within a month.
“It’s an honour to win the Red Card Award for most popular footballer online in China for the fourth year in a row,” said Ronaldo, who ranked ahead of Paris St Germain pair Neymar and Lionel Messi.
“The support from fans in China has been amazing so it is important for me to continue engaging with them on social media across my Weibo and Kuaishou channels.”
Fellow United player Paul Pogba was fifth in the online player popularity rankings in China, where David Beckham’s fan base has reached 10 million.