The Juventus star, who is currently the most-followed person on the photo-sharing app with more than 249 million fans, paid homage to Maradona in November, following the news of his death from a heart attack, and the touching note struck a chord with 19.7 million devotees.
The end-of-year top five is dominated by tragic losses, with fellow soccer star Lionel Messi’s Maradona appreciation post coming in third with 16.4 million likes, behind the death announcement featured on Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman’s official account in August, garnering 19.1 million likes.
Basketball superstar LeBron James came in fifth with 15.5 million hits as he mourned the loss of sporting great Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a helicopter crash in January.
“There’s so much more I want to say but just can’t right now because I can’t get through it!” LeBron wrote.
“Until we meet again my brother!!” he added.
Meanwhile, Kylie Jenner made four appearances in the annual top 10, with her birthday dedication to her baby daddy, rapper Travis Scott, ranking the highest at four with 16 million likes.
And there was also a lot of love shown to Ariana Grande on 20 December, as she celebrated the news of her engagement to Dalton Gomez.
A slideshow of photos of the couple, and the pop superstar’s pearl and diamond engagement ring, attracted 15.4 million likes to take sixth place.