The top 10 most tweeted about male athletes in 2019

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ESPN have released a list of the top 10 most tweeted about male athletes in 2019. 

Neymar comes in at number one, followed by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, in a list that footballers dominate. 

Basketball stars LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard and Kobe Bryant fill places four to six, while New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady takes seventh. 

Two more footballers, Kylian Mbappe and Keisuke Honda follow him, while Antonio Brown rounds off the list in 10th. 

The rankings certainly make for interesting reading.

But it may be that Neymar tops the list for all the wrong reasons. 

Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian star hasn't exactly had the best year on the pitch, but he's been highly controversial off of it. 

His future was the talk of the summer transfer window, with reports suggesting he was close to making a return to Barcelona. 

Neymar is 2019's most tweeted about male athlete

That never actually happened, but expect those rumours to re-ignite again in January and beyond. 

As well as being the talk of last summer, Neymar also caused controversy for his behaviour towards the end of the 2018/19 season. 

In March, following PSG's Champions League elimination at the hands of Manchester United, he went on a social media rant insulting the referees, before being banned for three matches. 

Neymar ranted at officials after PSG were beaten by Man Utd

Then, in April, Neymar got into what appeared to be a physical confrontation with a Rennes fan after the French Cup final. 

All that controversy translates into social media buzz and that's perhaps why the PSG forward tops this list. 

But Messi coming in second proves that as he does his talking on the pitch, everyone else will be talking about him away from it. 

Star performance after star performance translates into social media success and the Argentine's sixth Ballon d'Or win was no doubt a major talking point online. 

Another Ballon d'Or for Messi generated social media buzz

Messi, along with the likes of Ronaldo, Mbappe and NFL quarterback Brady, prove that impressive sporting performances will translate into a social buzz.

While more controversial figures like Neymar and American Football star Brown are also bound to get people talking. 

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