Ronaldo, Messi, McGregor: Who are the most famous athletes in the world?


It has been a funny old year for sport around the world.

The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic saw sport in general grind to a shuddering halt with just about every major competition on the planet put on hold.

However, as we approach the end of the year, there are flickers of hope with various codes around the world roaring back into life.

Ahead of what promises to be a very busy 2021, fans have been hard at work ranking the most famous athletes in the world right now, and it makes for interesting reading.

Thanks to the team at, fans are able to ‘upvote or downvote’ various athletes and a final score is calculated based on those numbers.

Here is what fans have come up with:

20. Stephen Curry
19. Mikaela Shiffrin
18. Yelena Isinbayeva
17. Lindsay Vonn
16. Serena Williams
15. Tom Brady
14. Manuel Neuer
13. Novak Djokovic
12. Virat Kohli
11. Neymar

10. Maria Sharapova

Sharapova’s career has tailed off of late but her off-court exploits in the business world have ensured she remains well known to fans across the globe.

9. Rafael Nadal


Widely considered to be one of the greatest tennis players to have ever lived, and just a genuinely nice guy in general, it is no surprise to find Nadal in the top ten.

8. John Cena

There are a lot of aspects that contribute to John Cena’s remarkable fame. On top of being a rather hot property in Hollywood these days, he has also been one of the biggest names in WWE over the last decade.

7. LeBron James


If anything, it is rather surprising to see LeBron languishing down in seventh place. The American basketball superstar normally tops lists of this ilk, but he will have to settle for a spot outside the top five this time around.

6. Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan’s incredible documentary, ‘The Last Dance’ was a smash hit on Netflix this year and will have done no harm to his status as a global household name.

5. Conor McGregor


Controversy by the bucket load, brutal honesty, and incredible fighting skill all come together to form a potent cocktail that makes the Irish star one of the most recognisable figures on the planet.

4. Roger Federer

The greatest tennis player to have ever lived, Federer is largely predicted to become the first tennis billionaire in history. A true gentleman with one of the most graceful techniques ever seen, Federer is well worth his spot in the top five.

3. Usain Bolt


The Jamaican sprinter’s antics over the last 15 years catapulted him into the public eye. His meme-worthy coolness in the midst of some of the highest-pressure situations in sport saw fans fall well and truly in love with him.

2. Lionel Messi

Barcelona’s superstar magician was always going to be high on this list. After years of consistent record breaking, trophy winning and obscene goalscoring, votes were always going to pour in for Messi.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo


Who else?

The Portuguese superstar has built slowly but surely built an empire around his status as one of the greatest athletes to have ever lived. His massive army of social media followers and unrivalled marketability were always going to see him challenging for the top spot on this list.

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