Ronaldo-Messi Chess Match Boots Elon Musk Post For Most Popular Tweet Of The Week


Twitter CEO Elon Musk’s tweets have dominated the platform since he took over as owner last month, but his posts over the past week were eclipsed by one Cristiano Ronaldo tweet in terms of popularity, with the soccer star sharing what’s already being considered an iconic image of himself engaged in a chess match with longtime rival Lionel Messi.

Key Facts

The tweet, posted Saturday, shows an ad for French fashion brand Louis Vuitton shot by famed American photographer Annie Leibovitz, featuring Messi and Ronaldo playing chess on top of a Louis Vuitton briefcase.

As of Wednesday, the tweet had attracted more than 1.9 million interactions, including over 1.7 million likes and around 215,000 retweets, according to data compiled by social media tracking firm NewsWhip.

The image was also immensely popular on Instagram, where it was shared by both Ronaldo and Messi—Ronaldo’s Instagram post has amassed more than 39 million likes, while Messi’s has nearly 30 million.

The second-most popular tweet over the past week was from Musk, who said “Twitter is ALIVE” late Saturday night, attracting nearly 1.6 million interactions, while a tweet from rapper Kanye West—whose account was restricted after he made antisemetic comments—saying, “Testing Testing Seeing if my Twitter is unblocked,” followed as the third-most popular in the past week, with more than 1.25 million interactions.

Musk was responsible for five of the eight most popular tweets this week, according to NewsWhip.

The billionaire’s tweet of a poll asking users whether to reinstate former President Donald Trump’s account did beat out Ronaldo’s post solely in terms of retweets, though, attracting more than 233,000 compared to just over 215,000 retweets for the Ronaldo-Messi chess match (Musk followed through on the tweet and unbanned Trump over the weekend).

Key Background

Ronaldo shared the image on the eve of the 2022 Qatar World Cup, which is expected to be the final major tournament featuring both Ronaldo, 37, and Messi, 35. The two are widely considered to be among the greatest handful of soccer players of all time, while their similar ages and sustained high levels of performance have prompted a seemingly endless debate about which player is the best of his generation. The rivalry, which has been cordial, has persisted even after dying down from a fever pitch between 2009 and 2018, when Ronaldo played for Real Madrid and Messi played for archrival club Barcelona in Spain’s La Liga—both players regularly shattered goalscoring records during that time.

Surprising Fact

Neither Messi nor Ronaldo have won a World Cup, and both only captured their first continental titles with their national teams fairly recently. Messi won the Copa America with Argentina last year, while Ronaldo won the European Championship with Portugal in 2016.

What We Don’t Know

It’s not clear where Ronaldo will play after Portugal’s World Cup run comes to an end. Ronaldo is without a club after he and Manchester United agreed to terminate his contract by “mutual consent,” after the forward berated the organization’s management in an interview last week.


Musk has been strongly promoting the World Cup on Twitter. In a tweet Friday, he said, “First World Cup match on Sunday! Watch on Twitter for best coverage & real-time commentary.”

Further Reading

The Money Behind The Most Expensive World Cup In History: Qatar 2022 By The Numbers (Forbes)

Cristiano Ronaldo Will Leave Manchester United By ‘Mutual Consent’ (Forbes)

Musk’s Trump Twitter Poll Hits 14 Million Votes—Most Want Ex-President Back On Platform (Forbes)