Real Madrid- Cristiano Ronaldo

Much like helpless defenders, nothing can stop Cristiano Ronaldo’s success. The Read Madrid soccer superstar is now the first athlete to have 50 million "likes" on Facebook.

Upon hearing the news, Ronaldo posted this message to his 13.9 million Twitter followers: "I really want us to keep sharing all the good moments together - and the best is still to come. THANK YOU ALL #50M"

Ronaldo plays on one of the most popular teams in the world and is a superstar in the biggest game in the world, so the results are not too surprising. Throw in good looks, and it’s a recipe for Facebook success for Ronaldo, whose popularity exceeds his own clubs. Real Madrid has a mere 32 million likes.

Lionel Messi, Ronaldo’s main competition for best player in soccer, or football as it's called everywhere but the U.S., trails his La Liga rival by more than 10 million likes. Ronaldo’s tally also bests David Beckham who has 21 million ‘Likes’.

So, where does this put Ronaldo in the grand scheme of Facebook popularity? Not surprisingly, right near the top. Ronaldo bests pop stars Katy Perry, 47.9 million, and Justin Beiber, 46.9 million, according to World of Sport.

There are just four individual humans who have higher like totals than Ronaldo. Rihanna tops the list with 61.8 million, Eminem is second with 61.5 million, Shakira at 55.2 million and the late Michael Jackson at 52.1 million. The most liked page on Facebook, regardless if it’s a person, place or thing, is Facebook for Every Phone which has a whopping 148.8 million ‘Likes’.

While success and popularity off the pitch is nice, Ronaldo has been proving his worth on the pitch as well. On Tuesday, Ronaldo earned his 100 career appearance for Portugal in a World Cup qualifier against Northern Ireland. Ronaldo has eight goals in La Liga, tied for first with Messi.

While 50 million likes may seem like just a fun statistic to throw around, Ronaldo’s popularity is a tremendous asset and can be used as leverage when it comes to negotiating contracts or endorsements. While Ronaldo can keep scoring goals, his club and country are reaping the benefits of his widespread popularity.