Four footballers make the top 10 list of most searched athletes in the UK in 2012, including Ballon D’Or contenders Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The pair are joined by former Bolton player Fabrice Muamba, who was forced to retire from the game after his heart stopped for 78 minutes following a cardiac arrest during an FA Cup quarter final tie against Tottenham in March.

David Beckham, who recently announced his decision to leave LA Galaxy after Saturday’s MLS Cup final game, also makes the cut.

The list of most searched athletes, compiled by Yahoo! UK, has a distinctly Olympic feel and is topped by British heptathlete Jessica Ennis, who claimed gold at the London Olympics over the summer.

Muamba is the highest placed footballer on the list in 4th place, two spots ahead of Messi, who is the favourite to land the Ballon D'Or in January. 

The Barcelona forward once more edges out rival Ronaldo, who comes in at 9th, and is one ahead of Beckham, while Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt just sneaks into the top 10.

Top Ten most searched athletes in the UK:

1. Jessica Ennis

2. Andy Murray

3. Victoria Pendleton

4. Fabrice Muamba

5. Tom Daley

6. Lionel Messi

7. David Beckham

8. Maria Sharapova

9. Cristiano Ronaldo

10. Usain Bolt

Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: