Virat Kohli’s popularity on Facebook has reached a new high as he became the most followed celebrity on the social media platform with more than 35 million fans, overtaking Bollywood star Salman Khan by more than 6,00,000 followers. Captain of India’s cricket team in all formats, Kohli has earned the love of his fans after an impressive home season and a decent Champions Trophy campaign till the final. In April this year, he had become the most ‘liked’ cricketer on Facebook as well as Instagram. He has now created a space for himself at the top to become the most followed celebrity with a good margin, leaving Bollywood stars like Salman Khan, Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra behind. The list of celebrities also includes Sachin Tendulkar on the sixth with 28,53,64,42 fans.
The cricket captain enjoys 3,57,25,719 fans on Facebook, 16 million followers on Twitter, 14 million on Instagram to become the most famous cricketer of all times around the world. Out of the 35 million plus fans on Facebook, 83% are Indians, followed by 5% from Bangladesh. Kohli seems to have a strong fan base in arch-rivals Pakistan as well with over a lakh fans.
In his last two posts on Facebook, his engagement with fans touched more than 7 million easily. On June 21, the cricket star changed his profile picture which fetched him 732 thousand likes, 2,070 shares and around 10 thousand comments from fans across the world.
Before that, Kohli had uploaded a picture of himself congratulating the Pakistan team on winning their maiden Champions Trophy. The post captioned “What a great Tournament. Indian Cricket Team played their hearts out but the Pakistan Cricket Team came out on top in the #CT17 Final. Congratulations to them on winning the ICC Champions Trophy 2017” crossed 896 thousand likes and 15,603 shares.
In the last six months, his fan base increased from 33 million to almost 36 million. He has led India against England, Australia, led Royal Challengers Bangalore in the tenth season of the Indian Premier League and took India to the final of the Champions Trophy where they lost to Pakistan by 180 runs.
Kohli is now with his team on the Carribean soil for a five-match ODI series and a T20 against hosts West Indies. He has been in the news recently for being held as the reason for Anil Kumble’s decision to step down as the head coach of the national team.
The 28-year-old batsman also features in the list of the fastest growing sports stars pages on Facebook, led by football greats Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. All the top ten athletes include footballers except Kohli and American wrestler John Cena.
To gauge the extent of his popularity, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the only Indian with more likes on Facebook than Kohli at 42.2 million.