As you may have heard, thousands of A-list celebrities, athletes and other notable figures were forced to surrender their Twitter verified status this week after the “blue tick” symbol was removed — unless paid for it.
But while Real Madrid paid top dollar to make their star accounts appear genuine, Barcelona avoided the new pay-for-a-tick scheme.
Twitter CEO Elon Musk has revised the site’s verified status, and those unwilling to pay its new $8-a-month subscription fee will now have an account just like any regular user of the platform.
Many high-profile footballers have already seen their ticks disappear. However others have retained their blue tick status, at least for now — though not necessarily paying for it themselves.
With everyone from Bill Gates to Kim Kardashian to the Pope stripped of their ticks as part of the site-wide clamor, a slightly odd turn of events saw three celebrities — all of whom have been vocal in their criticism of the Twitter Blue Scheme — paid for their subscriptions by Musk himself.
The most prominent example is NBA superstar LeBron James, who previously greeted news of an impending subscription fee by announcing to his 52 million followers that he had no intention of stumping up $8 a month to keep it ticking over.
That led Twitter’s under-fire CEO to reveal this week that he would personally fit the bill for James to have basketball legends on the site, along with veteran actor William Shatner and author Stephen King. Not an everyday trio of celebrities you’d put together.
Just Shatner, LeBron and King
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 21, 2023
As far as footballers are concerned, it doesn’t appear that Musk is willing to pay for any players to maintain their status, although a few notable names have apparently signed up to the service to protect their verified accounts.
Cristiano Ronaldo is easily the most followed athlete on Twitter with a fanbase of around 108.3 million, but even the Portuguese star has seen his verified status disappear into the ether.
Yesterday’s rainy training session!🌨️⚽️😁 pic.twitter.com/sKZn6xmWxX
— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) April 16, 2023
Although Lionel Messi does not have a personal Twitter account, his official “Team Messi” profile has also been unticked.
But the world’s most followed football club, Real Madrid (47.3 million followers), is matched by the UEFA Champions League (47 million) in retaining their golden check mark, indicating a verified business account.
— Real Madrid CF (@realmadrid) April 21, 2023
That means Real Madrid is paying Twitter an incredible $1,000-per-month (including tax), well, the real deal. But only in Spanish. They are not so flush as to tick gold for their official English, Arabic, French, Japanese or Portuguese Twitter feeds.
— Real Madrid CF 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) April 21, 2023
They can pay another $50 a month for each person they want to keep their Blue Tick. And it seems white No scammer wants them trying to claim to play for them — because they’re paying each player a $50 per month fee to keep their Blue Tick — as Karim Benzema’s account shows.
Alhamdulillah 🤲🏽🤍 pic.twitter.com/g8CJTq3XtX
— Karim Benzema (@Benzema) April 20, 2023
Not the case for Barcelona (46.9 million), as their account was verified overnight.
Iniesta ♾ forever pic.twitter.com/elXQc6D8Ge
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) April 21, 2023
And yes, that means all their star players now except tick
😄⚽️ @FC Barcelona pic.twitter.com/NeFqoLpwpX
—Pedri Gonzalez (@pedri) April 17, 2023
Neymar, the second most followed footballer on Twitter (62 million) after Ronaldo, has rejoined the masses by becoming a verified profile.
😉 – Play responsibly 18+ only https://t.co/TPg8xsbpGs@blazcom pic.twitter.com/47O5SlqbhM
– Neymar Jr (@neymarjr) April 6, 2023
As one of football’s most active Twitter users, former England striker Gary Lineker has confirmed that he will maintain his Twitter Blue account but only to preserve access to the “edit tweet” function that comes with the service.
Same situation. 😏 https://t.co/5jnxiWURR5
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) April 21, 2023
In the Premier League, many players have commented on losing their ticks, with Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez taking a philosophical approach to changing his sudden condition.
Already lost it once, no fear of not getting it again 😂😂 I’m not paying for this weird idea
—Riyad Mahrez (@mahrez22) April 20, 2023
Many of Mahrez’s City teammates, such as Erling Haaland, Jack Grealish and Kevin De Bruyne, suffered the same fate, losing their ticks in one fell swoop.
Destiny is 𝗔𝗟𝗟 🔵 #City of Man pic.twitter.com/7yQuzq9muR
— Erling Haaland (@ErlingHaaland) April 20, 2023
Meanwhile, his status as the Premier League’s most followed player on Twitter (18.2 million) doesn’t seem to support Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah’s subscription to the Blues.
— Mohamed Salah (@MoSalah) March 30, 2023
Chelsea forward Mason Mount went a step further by quitting Twitter entirely on Thursday in response to changes made to Mask’s platform.
I have thoroughly enjoyed connecting with all of you on Twitter over the years. Unfortunately, the platform is changing so I decided to delete my account.
You can still connect with me on my other social media platforms here: https://t.co/WqOt5nJ8Ts
Take care, Mason ✌🏻
— Mason Mount (@MasonMount) April 20, 2023
Only time will tell if others will begin to follow suit.