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PSG dub themselves 'champion' of Instagram

19:42 GMT 22/03/2019
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Ligue 1's runaway leaders boastfully announced they had reached 20 million followers

Paris Saint-Germain may have suffered Champions League elimination at the last-16 stage for the third successive year, but they can console themselves with the self-proclaimed title of Instagram 'champion'.

The Ligue 1 giants were dumped out of Europe's elite competition this month by Manchester United, with Marcus Rashford's controversial late penalty securing the Red Devils a 3-1 win in Paris which saw them progress on away goals.

Despite the shock exit, PSG are still bringing in followers on social media and they dubbed themselves the 'champion' of Instagram after surpassing the 20-million mark on Friday.

"The Parisian club is making dazzling progress and exceeds the milestone of 20 million followers," their statement read.

The announcement came on the same day star man Neymar – who was injured for the defeat to United – was charged with "insulting/molesting acts against a match official" on the same social media platform after Rashford's contentious spot-kick.

To compound matters, PSG are also seven million followers behind United on the photo and video-sharing social networking service.

But even the Red Devils' follower count pales in comparison to Spain's Clasico contestants. Barcelona have more than three times the Parisians' Instagram audience with 67 million followers while Real Madrid trump that with 70 million followers. 

And PSG are still a long way off their own star man Neymar who boasts 112 million followers, 47 million less than Cristiano Ronaldo (159 million), but the same number as his former Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi. 

The platform got Neymar's Brazil team-mate Marcelo into an awkward altercation with a Real Madrid fan last month when he wrote "It's all my fault" in reply to a statistical comparison between bad results and the 30-year-old's game time.

Marcelo's performances under recently sacked head coach Santiago Solari were heavily criticised, with Solari often favouring young defender Sergio Reguillon over the experienced Brazilian. 

Real, like PSG, were knocked out of the Champions League in the round of 16 after an embarrassing second-leg defeat to Ajax - ending the defence of their title.

Both clubs are now without a fixture until March 31 due to the international break.