He’s yet to score a Premier League goal for Liverpool, but Mario Balotelli can claim one first in 2014 — he had the most retweeted message of the World Cup.
Balotelli’s irreverent promise to kiss Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II if Italy beat Costa Rica in their World Cup group game was retweeted nearly 173,000 times and favorited over 88,000 times.
“If we beat Costa Rica i want a kiss, obviously on the cheek, from the UK Queen,” tweeted Balotelli, who joined Liverpool from AC Milan after the World Cup.
It’s unknown if the Queen was relieved after Italy were surprisingly beaten 1-0 by Costa Rica.
“Eight of the UK’s 10 most tweeted about moments in 2014 were sport related, in a year that saw the World Cup and Champions League dominate the major talking points on the platform,” said a Twitter spokesman.
Over 35 million tweets were sent during World Cup hosts Brazil’s humiliating 7-1 semifinal defeat by Germany to set a new record for the most-discussed live event on Twitter, with 672 million tweets relating to the tournament delivered.
Balotelli might have had the most retweeted message during hte World Cup, but the Liverpool forward’s Twitter account of just over three million followers is dwarfed by that of Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo who surpassed the 30 million mark this year.
Footballers take eight of the top 10 places of the most globally followed athletes, with basketball stars LeBron James and Kevin Durant fighting the NBA’s corner.
There was a greater mix of sports stars in the 10 most followed British athletes, with Andy Murray, diver Tom Daley, Lewis Hamilton, Rory McIlroy and cricketer Kevin Pietersen giving the likes of Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand, Gareth Bale, Joey Barton and Ashley Cole a run for their money.
No end of year social media review would be complete without a mention of sport’s most popular selfies.
“Since January 1, the term ‘selfie’ has been mentioned more than 92 million times on Twitter — a 500% increase and 12 times more than in 2013 — as people from all walks of life have come to Twitter to share their photos with followers around the world,” said a Twitter spokesman.
Arguably 2014’s most memorable sport selfie was Lukas Podolski’s photographic celebrations to commemorate Germany’s World Cup final win over Argentina.
The Twitter spokesman added: “The ‘Royal Photobomb’ moment at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow was when Australian hockey player @_JaydeTaylor had her selfie photobombed by HM Queen Elizabeth II, starting a trend of ‘Royal Photobombs’.”