Brazil vs Colombia World Cup 2014 preview: Want latest Brazil team secrets? Join Instagram

Millions of followers get fun and spontaneous views of life in the Selecao

Rio de Janeiro

They are multimillionaire footballers who have family and staff to look after all their personal affairs. But there is one job that the superstars of the Brazil national team like to do themselves: post pictures on Instagram.

If you want to see Neymar hanging out with his girlfriend on rest days, David Luiz pulling a silly face in the pool, Daniel Alves playing the drums in the team aeroplane or have ever been curious as to the decor in Hulk’s bedroom, then you all you need to do is follow these players’ feeds on the photo-sharing site.

Brazilian footballers have embraced Instagram as their social media of choice and it is enabling them to interact directly with fans in an unprecedented way. Many footballers from other countries also use the site but not with the same intensity, volume and irreverence as the Brazilians. Six of the top 10 World Cup footballers with the highest number of followers are Brazilian. In first place is Neymar, with 7.3 million followers.

Read more: How Scolari is helping his team cope
Match preview: Brazil vs Colombia
Want to know Brazil's secrets?

Since the beginning of the World Cup, the Brazil players have posted more than 200 photos on Instagram, usually selfies, stock photos with inspirational messages and short videos of life in the training camp. I doubt that any team in World Cup history has revealed such an intimate portrait of what goes on behind the scenes while the tournament is still on-going. Of Brazil’s starting XI, all the players are active on Instagram apart from goalkeeper Julio Cesar, but his wife Susana Werner more than makes up for this with dozens of posts.

There is an appealing amateurishness to the Brazilians’ images compared to the feeds of other top players, like Cristiano Ronaldo, (in second place with 6m followers), which is almost all advertising and promotional shots. The Brazilians’ shots are just like the selfies everyone takes – a sorrir (smile) for the camera – with the effect that they come across like they’re your mates. It is also refreshing (and rather amazing, considering how tightly clubs control their players) to read captions written by the players that haven’t been sanitised by their press officers. Alves, for example, writes in an effervescent stream-of-consciousness prose like a street preacher.

Almost always, the Brazilians write exclusively in Portuguese, even though most of them play for clubs in countries where the language is not understood. The captions, replete with emoticons, slang and stylised misspellings, are full of references to other players, to their families and messages to fans. In the last few days, Neymar’s posts have been getting more than a million “likes”, and almost 100,000 comments each.

Instagram has become an important source of information about the Brazil team. “Everything Neymar posts will be reproduced all over the web. I don’t think that any one of his posts has ever gone unnoticed,” says journalist Pedro Scapin, whose role at Brazil’s daily sports paper Lance! is to monitor the social media feeds of players, clubs and federations. He agrees that the Brazilians use Instagram spontaneously. “I don’t think they are doing what their clubs or their sponsors are telling them to do. Normally it is just them taking a picture of what they are doing at that moment.” Fernandinho underwater Fernandinho posts a picture underwater

The Brazilian players also have accounts on Facebook and Twitter but their feeds on these sites don’t feel as fresh and anarchic as what appears on Instagram – possibly because they are controlled by their staff. In Neymar’s case that is certainly true after he was sued by a referee who was slandered in one of his tweets.

Read more: Who will be king? Neymar or Rodriguez
5 reasons Brazil will win
5 reasons why Colombia will win

The national team’s use of Instagram reflects a disproportionate enthusiasm for social media in Brazil. According to internet analytics firm ComScore, the time spent on social media per visitor in Brazil is more than double the world average. A decade ago Brazilians were addicted to the social media site Orkut, well before Facebook became established in Britain.

Gugu Ketzer, one of Brazil’s top advertising executives, says that Instagram is a perfect fit for the Brazilian personality. “We have this thing in our culture anyway that we like to share things in our life. We love to share and we love to have friends, to be in a community. We are not like Americans and Europeans who like to have a preserved space. We open our doors, always.” David Luiz posing with kids at a swimming pool David Luiz posing with kids at a swimming pool

Instagram is easier to engage with than other social media since it is about  pictures rather than words. It also plays in to the Brazilian love of showing off – here vanity is seen as a positive quality. “The selfie is so Brazilian,” Ketzer adds.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test