Real Madrid soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has been reported as the most influential footballer online in the Far East. The 32-year old Portugal international beat his club-mate Gareth Bale, England and Manchester United skipper Wayne Rooney and others to the sport, CNN reports.

The four-time Ballon d’Or winner is a dominant force in the world of football, but the report affirms this and goes on to prove that his popularity extends to the digital space.

China is a growing economic player in world football. With a huge youthful population keen on soccer and with government backing to make the nation a powerhouse in the sport, China is one of the biggest forces in the digital soccer world.

Consultants in the country reported that Ronaldo has at least ten times more online engagement compared to other stars. They used eight different metrics such as engagement, digital presence, number of active follower et al to analyse the biggest clubs and players in Europe – football biggest continent.

The report of the analysis showed that Premier League outfit Manchester United was the most influential club in China, while German side Bayern Munich had the best digital presence – mainly due to the live stream of Bundesliga in China, although the fact that you can also get a Bet365 bonus code on Bundesliga matches also helped.

Clubs and companies are reaching out to China, as the next destination to seriously grow the game, and make football an even bigger global phenomenon - fuelled in part by companies such as bookmakers, shirt retailers and TV channels, all eager to get an even bigger audience. Many offer e.g. claim your welcome bonus with William Hill promotions

Ronaldo’s achievements, his figure, being unmarried and his popularity – having played for the biggest clubs in Europe – made him easily clinch the Most Influential spot. Ronaldo’s super agent Jorge Mendes is also quite popular in China. He has a strategic partnership with a Chinese conglomerate in the country that would favour the Ronaldo brand. Anyways, Real Madrid has the highest number of top-ranked players that hold huge influence in China.

On the flip side, Lionel Messi does not enjoy such privilege. The 29-year old does not have an official Twitter account and his social media presence is not high in China – hence he ranks outside the top five.