The 100 greatest sportsmen of the 21st century (50-1)


50 | Sebastian Loeb | Rally Car

“A legend of the World Rally Championship and, for some, the best hands in motorsport history.”

49 | Conor McGregor | UFC

“The man who has rocketed the popularity of mixed martial arts to its peak.”

48 | Alejandro Valverde | Cycling

“The most regular cyclist of this century, with an almost unmatched record, is still active at 40.”

47 | Dirk Nowitzki | Basketball

“First European to be MVP of the season in the NBA and sixth scorer of all time.”

46 | Fernando Alonso | Formula One

“The most versatile and comprehensive driver in modern motorsport history.”

45 | David Rudisha | Athletics

“The midfondista who elevated the simple act of running to the category of art.”

44 | Fabian Cancellara | Cycling

“Considered as one of the best classic addicts in the history of cycling.”

43 | Barry Bonds | Baseball

“One of the best baseball players in history but suspicions of doping have weighed on his legend.”

42 | Daniel Dias | Adapted Swimming

“The Brazilian Paralympic is considered the Michael Phelps of adapted swimming.”

41 | Bradley Wiggins | Cycling

“The ‘pistard’ who hit the road to pay the mortgage and ended up winning the Tour de France.”

40 | Alistair Brownlee | Triathlon

“The most ruthless ‘killer’ in triathlon history and the man who has revolutionized his sport.”


39 | Stephane Peterhansel | Rally Car

“He is and always will be ‘Monsieur Dakar’ and there will never be another who can wear this title of honor.”

38 | Ian Thorpe | Swimming

“One of the greatest swimmers in history despite having a short career.”

37 | Andres Iniesta | Football

“The magic of unstoppable La Roja and the best Barça in history, a great footballer.”

36 | Ricardinho | Futsal

“Six times named best player in the world, he is the most representative figure of futsal in the last decade.”

35 | Vincenzo Nibali | Cycling

“The boy from Messina who showed Italy that the people of the south also knew how to climb ports.”

34 | Hicham El Guerrouj | Athletics

“The best midfond runner in history was crowned in Athens 2004 with a legendary double.”

33 | Sebastien Vettel | Formula One

“The third in all the important F1 statistics, with a truly incredible record.”

32 | Shaquille O’Neal | Basketball

“The last great center of NBA history, an indefensible player.”

31 | Kelly Slater | Surfing

“The youngest world champion and also the longest-lived in the history of surfing.”

30 | Floyd Mayweather | Boxing

“The technically most outstanding boxer of this century who also finished his career unbeaten.”


29 | Alberto Contador | Cycling

“The best Spanish cyclist since Miguel Indurain, an aggressive climber who dazzled fans.”

28 | Tim Duncan | Basketball

“The greatest power forward of all time and the owner of the NBA for almost 15 years.”

27 | Kenenisa Bekele | Athletics

“The long-distance runner who was able to overcome the legacy of Haile Gebrselassie and extend the Ethiopian reign.”

26 | Teddy Riner | Judo

“The best judoka in history, he was undefeated for almost ten years and is an icon of French sport.”

25 | Zinedine Zidane | Football

“One of the most elegant footballers in history and the author of the most remembered goal in the Champions League.”

24 | Nikola Karabatic | Handball

“Three times IHF Player of the Year and three other seconds.”

23 | Kohei Uchimura | Artistic Gymnastics

“Simply the most complete gymnast in history, with unmatched technical mastery.”

22 | Ronaldinho | Football

“The last great representative of the Brazilian “jogo bonito” and romanticism in football.”

21 | Marcel Hirscher | Skiing

“Possibly the best skier in history, with 67 World Cup victories.”

20 | Kilian Jornet | Mountain running

“The Leonardo da Vinci of the summits, a myth of trail running and mountain skiing that knows no limits.”


19 | Ronaldo | Football

“Possibly the best “9” in the history of football despite the injuries that weighed down his career.”

18 | Tom Brady | American Football

“The best quarterbacks in NFL history with the numbers in hand.”

17 | Chris Froome | Cycling

“The best cyclist of the modern era and third to win the big three in a row.”

16 | Manny Pacquiao | Boxing

“One of the most versatile fighters of all time and an example of how to get up after defeat.”

15 | Lebron James | Basketball

“The evolution of basketball made player and the only one who can discuss the historical throne to Michael Jordan.”

14 | Eliud Kipchoge | Athletics

“The athlete who has taken the marathon to a new dimension with his power and regularity.”

13 | Michael Schumacher | Formula One

“A relentless predator, with a charisma that seems to have vanished from the current Formula 1 grid.”

12 | Marc Marquez | Motorcycling

“For some he is already the best driver of all time for his rivals and the current mechanical equality compared to other times.”

11 | Novak Djokovic | Tennis

“The tennis player without weak points who threatens to break all the records of Federer and Nadal.”

10 | Cristiano Ronaldo | Football

“One of the best ‘killers’ in football history, an unparalleled competitor who always wants more.”


9 | Valentino Rossi | Motorcycling

“The best rider in the history of the Motorcycle World Cup, at least until Marc Márquez proves otherwise.”

8 | Lewis Hamilton | Formula One

“The pilot who is on his way to break all the records of the Great Circus.”

7 | Lionel Messi | Football

“The best soccer player of the present century and for many, the best in history.”

6 | Tiger Woods | Golf

“The athlete who has most transformed a specialty, so much so that his figure rises well above golf.”

5 | Kobe Bryant | Basketball

“A tragically missing myth. He pretended to be Jordan and was Kobe Bryant, the most worthy successor.”

4 | Rafael Nadal | Tennis

“The ‘alien’ of Roland Garros and the player with the most hunger for glory in history.”

3 | Roger Federer | Tennis

“Elegance made tennis and the highest paid athlete on the planet.”

2 | Usain Bolt | Athletics

“The most charismatic athlete in history and the one who brought athletics to the forefront of media interest.”

1 | Michael Phelps | Swimming

“The swimmer who rewrote the history of his sport and the Olympics with impossible numbers.”

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