Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo incurs social media wrath over Buddha photo

Cristiano Ronaldo incurred the wrath of Buddhists on social media after the Real Madrid star posed in an Instagram photo with his foot resting at the base of a Buddha statue.

In the photo, also posted on his Facebook feed, the player's famous right foot is placed on top of the surrounding small wall of the statue, which is in the form of the head of the father of Buddhism.

One Facebook post by Waz Tniym Gnian Hkt said: "Cristiano Ronaldo I am your fan.But you should respect our Buddha.However you're Christian or Islam or Hindu.You have a lot of fan from these religion.You're famous football player.I apologize you.Please don't do like that.This photo hit our(Buddhisms)heart. Only religions can understand me."

"This is disrespectful .... How can he put his leg on Gautam Buddha .... I was not expecting this stupidity from Ronaldo .... Sir today u lost one of ur fan this is very bad," wrote another follower, Shubham Pandey, via Facebook.

Bom dia

A photo posted by Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano) on

After nine hours online, the photo had 1.4 million likes on Instagram and 940,381 reactions on Facebook, including 47,677 who used the "angry" emoji to voice their disagreement with the photo.

Spanish newspaper AS reported on Wednesday that the manager of all of Ronaldo's social media is Marisa Mendes. The 25-year-old Mendes is the daughter of Ronaldo's agent, Jorge Mendes.

According to the report, the Portugal international has over 244 million followers between Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Taylor Swift is the only other public figure with more followers at 246 million, according to an analytics study done by Madrid agency Apple Tree Communications.

In February of this year, Ronaldo became the first athlete to surpass 200 million followers on social media and he is the most-followed male on social media.

His numbers put him past Barcelona rival Lionel Messi as well as beyond the combined total of basketball stars LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Steph Curry.