If you’re curious to know which moments defined popular culture in the last few years, going through the most popular social media posts is a good place to start. Over the years, several popular events have captured the zeitgeist and shaped the modern discourse on the Internet. In this article, we take a look at the 20 most-liked Instagram posts of all time.
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Lionel Messi lifting the World Cup Trophy (75.5 million likes)
Lionel Messi’s Instagram carousel right after Argentina’s victory over France in the 2022 FIFA World Cup final in Qatar is the most-liked Instagram post by quite a margin. The thrilling World Cup final had everything in it – a 2 goal comeback, world-class goals, a stunning hattrick, and a nail-biting penalty shootout to crown Argentina as champions.
Being Messi’s first World Cup trophy, the post of his celebrating with it was always going to do numbers. But this WC had the added narrative of the two greatest players of our generation (and possibly of all time), going into their last World Cup tournament with the chance to win it for the first time. While Ronaldo may have crashed out early, Messi etched his name in history.
World Record Egg (59.8 million likes)
The World Record Egg existed solely to become the most-liked Instagram post of all time – and the world got behind it. Posted with the caption “Let’s set a world record together and get the most liked post on Instagram. Beating the current world record held by Kylie Jenner (18 million)! We got this 🙌”, the egg went viral on the platform within a few days. In just 10 days the post amassed 18.4 million likes, beating Kylie Jenner’s record. But it didn’t stop there. In the next two days, the post reached 45 million likes. The egg remained the most-liked post on Instagram for 1,436 days until its spot was taken over by Lionel Messi.
Messi in bed with the World Cup trophy (54.8 million likes)
Pictures of footballers in bed with the trophy they have just won is a genre of its own. The photo of the greatest footballer of our generation striking that pose with the most coveted sporting trophy in the world was bound to become popular. Right now, Messi’s post sits at the third spot with 54.8 million likes.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi playing chess on a Louis Vuitton suitcase (42.9 million likes)
In the lead-up to the World Cup, no one saw the two greatest players of all time coming together and acknowledging their rivalry. While it may have been an advertisement for Louis Vuitton, football fans were hyped to see the two Titans sitting across from each other, focused on a game of chess. Lionel Messi posted the same image from his account which also managed to crack the top 10.
Lionel Messi with the World Cup trophy on an airplane (42 million likes)
Another genre of footballers-with-trophies photos, this picture of Lionel Messi sitting in an airplane with the WC trophy currently occupies the number 5 spot in this list. This picture was posted a day after the final.
Al Nassr FC announces the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo (34.6 million likes)
When we say the World Cup was rife with narrative, we really mean it. Leading up to the Word Cup, Cristiano Ronaldo had a falling out with his club, Manchester United, following his interview with Piers Morgan. It was evident that Ronaldo would move on to another club in the transfer window next month, just when the World Cup concluded. After his contract termination at Manchester United, Cristiano Ronaldo was signed by the Saudi Arabian football club Al Nassr.
Messi’s World Cup celebrations in Argentina (34.5 million likes)
Messi’s carousel of World Cup celebrations in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he was joined by hundreds of thousands of Argentines is the 7th most-liked post of all time on Instagram. This carousel post contains photos from the team’s victory parade along with a few videos of the frenzy that ensued on the streets of Argentina.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s post after World Cup exit (34.3 million likes)
Portugal’s World Cup exit at the hands of Morocco ended Cristiano Ronaldo’s hopes of winning the trophy as many believed this would be his last appearance at the tournament. Regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, the World Cup is the only major trophy missing from the striker’s cabinet. His heartfelt message following the exit is the 8th most-liked post on Instagram with 34.3 million likes.
Lionel Messi’s chess post with Cristiano Ronaldo (32.9 million likes)
Lionel Messi’s version of the famous chess post manages to crack the top 10, sitting at the number 9 spot with 32.9 million likes. The only repeat post in this list, and it seems like it’ll be that way for a long time.
Georgina Rodriguez and Cristiano Ronaldo announce they are having twins (32.7 million likes)
This post from October 2021 ranked much higher before all the World Cup hysteria took over. The couple took to Instagram to announce they are having twins. The post has amassed 32.7 million likes to date.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s remembrance post for Pelé (32.4 million likes)
The Internet was filled with tributes after the legendary footballer Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known by his nickname Pelé, passed away. Cristiano Ronaldo, in his remembrance post for Pelé, wrote about how big an inspiration the striker was to millions of people across the world.
XXXTentacion’s final post before his death (31.2 million likes)
Famed rapper XXXTentacion passing away at just the age of 20 was a tragic event that shook the music industry. Soon after reports of his death surfaced on the Internet, XXXTentacion’s fans left their condolences on his most recent Instagram post, which soon became one of the most-liked posts on the platform.
Lionel Messi’s post after defeating Croatia to reach the FIFA World Cup 2022 final (29.8 million likes)
After Argentina’s defeat against Saudi Arabia in the group stages of the FIFA World Cup 2022, no one expected them to reach the final of the tournament. In his post following the Semi Final victory against Croatia, Lionel Messi thanked the fans who trusted their team to go all the way.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s presentation ceremony in front of Al Nassr fans
Every football fan loves it when their club signs a big name. In the current age, you won’t find a bigger name than Cristiano Ronaldo. The striker was unveiled to the Al Nassr FC fans in a packed Mrsool Park with 25,000 people in the audience. The footballer’s Instagram post of the event has reached 28.1 million likes to date.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s carousel post of a friendly match with PSG (28 million likes)
If you’ve been following every entry on this list, you must be versed with the narrative by now. While the World Cup may have put an end to the ‘Greatest footballer of all time’ debate for many people, it certainly didn’t put an end to the Ronaldo vs Messi rivalry. CR7’s infamous exit from Manchester United was something that many saw coming, but no one expected him to face off against Lionel Messi one more time. PSG played a friendly match against Riyadh XI (a combined team of the best players from two of the biggest Saudi clubs – Al Nassr and Al Hilal) in January. Cristiano’s carousel post, which included a picture of him with Messi, amassed 28 million likes.
Ariana Grande’s wedding post (26.2 million likes)
Football posts may have dominated this list but you cannot discount the influence that music and celebrities have on popular culture. Ariana Grande’s wedding pictures carousel is the first music-related entry in this list with 26.2 million likes. The American singer-songwriter tied the knot with luxury real estate agent Dalton Gomez in May 2021.
Lionel Messi’s remembrance post for Pelé (26.1 million likes)
The last football-related post on this list is Lionel Messi’s remembrance post for Pelé. The Argentine winger posted a picture of himself with the Brazilian legend with the title ‘Rest in Peace, @pele”. The post has since gained 26.1 million likes.
Zendaya’s post wishing Tom Holland a happy birthday (26 million likes)
This monochrome photo of the celebrity power couple Zendaya and Tom Holland is the 18th most-liked post on Instagram, with 26 million likes. The couple starred together in Marvel’s reboot of the Spider-Man franchise in 2016 and started dating shortly after.
Selena Gomez’s makeup-free selfie captioned ‘Violet Chemistry’ (25.6 million likes)
Selena Gomez’s selfie post from March 2023 cracks the top 20 most-liked Instagram posts of all time list with over 25 million likes. The caption ‘Violet Chemistry’ is a nod to the Miley Cyrus song by the same name. Selena Gomez also tagged Miley Cyrus in the picture.
Tom Holland recreating the Spider-Man meme with Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield (25 million likes)
The Internet loves memes. What it loves more is memes coming to life. Tom Holland’s recreation of the ‘Spider-Man pointing at himself’ meme with not one but two Spider-Men was a fun moment for the fans of the franchise. The image is supposedly from the set of ‘No Way Home’ which features Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield reprising their role as Spider-Man.
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These are the top 20 most-liked posts of all time on Instagram. The title of the ‘most-liked post on Instagram’ was held by the World Record Egg for the longest time – 1,436 days to be exact, until it was displaced by Lionel Messi’s WC post. The latter comfortably sits at the top, with almost 16 million more likes than the most famous egg of all time. Which moment from this list is your personal favourite? Let us know in the comments!
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