Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Maguire are the two footballers who receive the most abuse on Twitter, a study has found

Manchester United duo Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Maguire received the most Twitter abuse of all players in the Premier League last season, a new study has found.

Ofcom and the Alan Turing Institute, the UK’s national institute for data science and artificial intelligence, teamed up to analyse 2.3 million tweets published in the first half of the 2021-22 campaign.

The study found that nearly 60,000 abusive posts were directed at Premier League players in the first five months of last season.

Ronaldo received the most Twitter abuse of any player in the Premier League (Image: Alamy)

Abusive tweets affected seven in 10 top-flight players, with half of the abuse directed at just 12 individual players – eight of whom played for United at the time.

Between August 13 and January 24, Ronaldo was sent the greatest number of abusive tweets – 12,520.

Maguire was second on the list, having been targeted with 8,954 abusive messages in the same period.

Marcus Rashford (2,557), Bruno Fernandes (2,464), Fred (1,924), Jesse Lingard (1,605), Paul Pogba (1,446) and David De Gea (1,394) also featured in the top 10, as did England internationals Harry Kane (2,127) and Jack Grealish (1,538).


The report also found that there were two peaks in the frequency of abusive tweets.

The first peak came on the day Ronaldo rejoined United from Juventus on August 27, with the second occurring after Maguire tweeted an apology to the club’s supporters following the 2-0 defeat to Manchester City on November 7.

Maguire was one of 10 United players in the top 10 (Image: Alamy)

But the study also found that the vast majority football fans use social media in a responsible manner.

Using new machine-learning technology to automatically assess whether tweets were abusive, a team of experts also manually reviewed a random sample of 3,000 tweets to provide further accuracy.

Of that smaller sample of tweets, 57 per cent were positive towards players, 27 per cent were neutral and 12.5 per cent were critical, with the remaining 3.5 per cent abusive.

Meanwhile, 2.6 per cent of the 2.3 million tweets analysed with the machine-learning technology were found to be abusive.

Dr Bertie Vidgen, lead author of the report and head of online safety at the Alan Turing Institute, says more must be done to tackle the issue of online abuse.

“These stark findings uncover the extent to which footballers are subjected to vile abuse across social media,” said Dr Vidgen.


“While tackling online abuse is difficult, we can’t leave it unchallenged. More must be done to stop the worst forms of content, to ensure that players can do their job without being subjected to abuse.”

Twitter has welcomed the research but claims the figures may have not taken into account safety features that the company has implemented to prevent abusive posts from reaching users.

“We are committed to combating abuse and, as outlined in our Hateful Conduct Policy, we do not tolerate the abuse or harassment of people on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation,” a spokesperson said, as reported by the BBC.

“As acknowledged in the report, this type of research is only possible because our public API is open and accessible to all.

“However, our publicly-accessible API does not take into account the range of safeguards we put in place, so this does not completely reflect the user experience.”

Featured Image Credit: Alamy


Recent Posts

Memphis Depay scores sensational goal for Barcelona with trademark turn, it’s impossible to defend

Memphis Depay scored his first goal of the season, as Barcelona began to pile on the goals against Elche, thanks… Read More

2 weeks ago

Ronald Araujo proved how much he adores Barcelona by jumping over crest mid-game vs Elche

Ronald Araujo is fast becoming one of the best defenders in world football. At the age of just 23, the… Read More

2 weeks ago

Footage of the build-up to Sancho’s goal v Sheriff highlights Ten Hag’s impact at Man Utd

Manchester United‘s Erik ten Hag adventure took another step in the right direction on Thursday night as they comfortably overcame… Read More

2 weeks ago

Cristiano Ronaldo’s unrivalled influence was clear to see during Man Utd’s visit to Sheriff

Cristiano Ronaldo was the star attraction as Manchester United travelled to Moldova to face Sheriff Tiraspol in the Europa League… Read More

2 weeks ago

Footage of child unpacking Lionel Messi in World Cup pack is truly wholesome

Lionel Messi is one of the greatest, if not the greatest football player of all time and will be heading to Qatar with… Read More

2 weeks ago

Neymar was booked for doing his trademark celebration tonight and nobody understands why

Neymar was fuming after being booked for doing his trademark celebration during Paris Saint-Germain’s match against Maccabi Haifa on Wednesday evening. PSG… Read More

2 weeks ago