Extra Time: Cristiano Ronaldo most popular footballer with 50 million Facebook fans

The Real Madrid forward has more 'likes' on the social networking site than Barcelona adversary Lionel Messi, Basketball superstar LeBron James and fellow Bernabeu team-mate Kaka

Cristiano Ronaldo has become the first sports star to surpass 50 million ‘likes’ on Facebook and is the first non-music figure to reach the landmark.

That equates to an estimated five per cent of the social network site who are fans of the Real Madrid attacker, and 10 million more than his Barcelona adversary Lionel Messi.

Extra Time found his fan page has Leo as his first name rather than the more commonly used Lionel - could this be the reason for Ronaldo trailblazing ahead, or is the Portugal international simply more popular among Facebook users?

Other footballers in the top 10 which Ronaldo can smugly claim as superior in the social networking sphere to, include his Santiago Bernabeu team-mate Kaka, who is fourth in Mashable's StarCount list.

The 27-year-old posted on his page: "Reaching 50,000,000 likes is unbelievable ...I want to thank you, you you, you and everyone who have been supporting me all these years. I really want us to keep sharing all the good moments together - and the best is still to come. THANK YOU ALL."

Ex-Real Madrid midfielder David Beckham is placed in third with over 21 million Facebook fans while mercurial Camp Nou attacker Andres Iniesta is five places behind Messi in the list in seventh.

Non-footballers who fill the remainder of the top 10 are Basketball icons LeBron James (fifth), Michael Jordan (sixth), Dwayne Wade (eighth).

Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar sits ninth while pro-wrestler (yes, Extra Time is sceptical about the authenticity of the WWE as a sport is too...) John Cena is 10th.