The 100 greatest sportsmen of the 21st century (100-51)


Who is the greatest sportsman of all time?

It’s certainly a tough question to answer as you’ve got to take into consideration a vast array of sports from all different eras.

Ok, to make things easier, how about since 2000? 

Still, it’s a very difficult question to answer but it’s one that Spanish outlet Marca have attempted in the absence of actual sport.

In fact, instead of just naming the greatest, they’ve compiled a top 100 greatest male sportsmen in the 21st century.

Who makes the list? Who makes the top 10? Who is the greatest?

Let’s take a look at who they picked – and they also explained why each athlete made the list in one sentence.

100 | Luka Doncic | Basketball

“The most talented player of the new generation. Last NBA Rookie of the Year and Euroleague MVP 2018.”

99 | Kosuke Kitajima | Swimming

“One of the best bracistas in history, he won the 100 and 200 breaststroke in both Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008.”

98 | Wladimir Klitschko | Boxing

“The best heavyweight of this century. Almost equals legendary Joe Louis with 23 heavyweight world title defenses.”

97 | Seb Ogier | Rally Driving

“Second most successful driver in the history of the World Rally and the only one who has won in any test with four different brands.”

96 | Brooks Koepka | Golf

“Winner of the PGA Championship, second in the Masters, second in the US Open and fourth in the British in 2019.”

95 | Mark Cavendish | Cycling

“Possibly the best sprinter of this century and a versatile cyclist capable of shining on the road and track.”

94 | Tony Parker | Basketball

“The best French player in history and a fundamental piece of the Spurs’ gear.”

93 | Luis Amado | Futsal

“His hands raised more titles than anyone. Possibly the most decisive player on a futsal court.”

92 | Alessandro Falcao | Futsal

“He is considered by many to be the best futsal player in history.”

91 | Luka Modric | Football

“Winner of the Golden Ball and The Best Award in 2018 and best player in the World Cup in Russia.”

90 | Mo Farah | Athletics

“Just the second athlete in history to win the 5,000 and 10,000 meters in two Olympic Games. in a row.”


89 | Adam Peaty | Swimming

For many, the best bracista in history. World record holder of 50 and 100 breaststroke.”

88 | Stan Wawrinka | Tennis

“The only tennis player capable of standing up to the Big Four, has won three of the Big Four in the finals against Djokovic or Nadal.”

87 | Dan Carter | Rugby

“Three times voted best player in the world, he has two world titles with the All Blacks.”

86 | Alex Honnold | Climbing

“The first man to climb the El Capitan wall without ropes.”

85 | Mikkel Hansen | Handball

“He is the highest-paid handball player in history, with a quality of throwing out of the ordinary.”

84 | Manu Ginobili | Basketball

“Winner of a Euroleague title, an NBA championship and an Olympic gold medal.”

83 | Wayde van Niekerk | Athletics

“400 meter Olympic champion and two-time world champion.”

82 | Tom Boonen | Cycling

“One of the best cyclists in history in the spring classics.”

81 | Rory McIlroy | Golf

“McIlroy is the European answer to Tiger Woods.”

80 | Tamas Kasas | Water Polo

“Leader of the Hungarian three-time Olympic team from the beginning of the century.”


79 | Jorge Lorenzo | MotoGP 

“In the middle of the era Rossi-Marquez managed to win three MotoGP world championships.”

78 | Caeleb Dressel | Swimming

“Michael Phleps’ heir is called to take his throne at the Tokyo Games.”

77 | Gennady Golovkin | Boxing

“With a massive punch, one of the best pound-for-pound boxers of recent times.”

76 | Pau Gasol | Basketball

“The best Spanish player in history and one of the best European players of all time.”

75 | Lin Dan | Badminton

“The best badminton player of all time after fifteen years of amazing consistency.”

74 | Alex Rodriguez | Baseball

“One of the most complete and consistent players in baseball history.”

73 | Jiri Jezek | Paralympic Cycling

“The best paralympic rider in history due to his quality and versatility.”

72 | Jamie Dwyer | Hockey

“Five times named best player of the year.”

71 | Javier Gómez Noya | Triathlon

“The most regular triathlete in history and the one that has been at the top of his specialty for more years.”

70 | Martin Fourcade | Biathlon

“One of the great myths of French sport in recent years and the most complete biathlete in history.”


69 | Oscar Freire | Cycling

“The man who showed that Spanish cyclists can also be great sprinters.”

68 | Steph Curry | Basketball

“The triple player who has revolutionized the game in the NBA in some historical Golden State Warriors.”

67 | Iker Casillas | Football

“The captain of the best Spanish team in history and a symbol of Real Madrid.”

66 | Ryan Lochte | Swimming

“An exceptional and versatile competitor in the shadow of Michael Phelps chosen three times swimmer of the year.”

65 | Ben Ainslie | Sailing

“Ode a legend in the world of sailing and the most successful sailor in the history of the Games.”

64 | Sidney Crosby | Ice Hockey

“The heir to Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. Pride of Canada, the country that loves ice hockey.”

63 | Ashton Eaton | Athletics

“The 10th athlete of the 21st century, so big that he retired prematurely due to the lack of incentives.”

62 | Yuzuru Hanyu | Figure Skating

“No one like him has explored the limits of figure skating and that is why he is the best in history.”

61 | Toni Bou | Motorcross

“One of the greatest “tyrants” in the history of sport, he has been unbeaten in the world of trial since 2007.”

60 | Peyton Manning | American Football

“The only quarterback who can look Tom Brady in the face and argue number 1.”


59 | Hermann Maier | Skiing

“One of the most dominant skiers in history who was able to overcome a terrible motorcycle accident.”

58 | Gilberto Giba | Volleyball

“The cornerstone of the great Brazilian team.”

57 | Peter Sagan | Cycling

“Classicist, sprinter and wheeler, he is one of the most charismatic cyclists in history.”

56 | Phil Mickelson | Golf

“The coolest golfer golfing ever after Severiano Ballesteros.”

55 | Kevin Durant | Basketball

“An almost indefensible power forward who came to the NBA to redefine the concept of versatility.”

54 | Pieter van den Hoogenband | Swimming

“The man who ended the reign of Americans, Australians and Russians in speed tests.”

53 | Richie McCaw | Rugby

“Captain of the mythical All Blacks for a decade, he is a legend of world rugby.”

52 |  Xavi Hernandez | Football

“The brain of La Roja and Barcelona of Guardiola, the best team and the best team of this century.”

51 | Andy Murray | Tennis

“The only tennis player who in the last 10 years has discussed the tyranny of the ‘Big Three.’”



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