Ronaldo named ‘world’s most famous athlete’ in front of LeBron James and Messi

By Isoccer Staff

Cristiano Ronaldo is the most famous athlete in the world, according to a study by broadcaster ESPN.

The Real Madrid forward has beaten off competition from NBA superstar LeBron James and arch-nemesis Lionel Messi to sit top of the rankings, which are compiled using a tailored algorithm.

Eight British athletes make the top 100 of the ESPN World Fame 100, with Theo Walcott sitting in 79th – five ahead of 84th- placed Lewis Hamilton.

And stars from the world of football, golf, basketball, cricket, NFL, tennis, athletics and many other sports feature.

ESPN director of analytics Ben Alamar came up with the formula which controls the outcome of the list, with earnings, social media influence and Google search popularity all taken into account.

Joining Ronaldo, James and Messi in the top 10 are tennis ace Roger Federer, veteran golfer Phil Mickelson, Brazilian icon Neymar, world-record sprinter Usain Bolt, another NBA star in the shape of Kevin Durant and multiple Grand Slam champion Rafa Nadal.

In at 10, with the order finalised before his recent arrest on DUI charges in Florida, is Tiger Woods.

Footballers dominate the World Fame 100, with the sport claiming 38 of the positions available.

Of those 38, almost a third ply their trade in the Premier League – including Zlatan Ibrahimovic (26), Alexis Sanchez (29) and Wayne Rooney (31).

The most expensive player ever to play the game, Paul Pogba – himself a prolific presence on Twitter and Instagram – comes in at 40, behind Japanese tennis star Kei Nishikori (20) and two Indian cricketers in Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Cricket has four entries in total, some way behind basketball (13), golf (11) and tennis (10).

There are representatives of table tennis, badminton, swimming, gymnastics, MMA, motorsport and NFL but no rugby players and only one boxer – Manny Pacquaio. Conor McGregor, the UFC fighter who may well move into the boxing ring to fight Floyd Mayweather Jnr, is ranked 25th.

Speaking of Mayweather, the algorithm does not take into account ‘retired’ athletes, hence the absence of the man they call ‘Money’ from this list.

Another UFC competitor, Ronda Rousey, is the highest-placed woman on the list at 16th. She leads a total of eight women, four of whom are tennis players.
TOP 100 WORLD MOST FAMOUS ATHLETES
1 Cristiano Ronaldo (football)

2 LeBron James (basketball)

3 Lionel Messi (football)

4 Roger Federer (tennis)

5 Phil Mickelson (golf)

6 Neymar (football)

7 Usain Bolt (athletics)

8 Kevin Durant (basketball)

9 Rafael Nadal (tennis)

10 Tiger Woods (golf)

11 Stephen Curry (basketball)

12 Novak Djokovic (tennis)

13 Virat Kohli (cricket)

14 Rory McIlroy (golf)

15 Mahendra Singh Dhoni (cricket)

16 Ronda Rousey (UFC)

17 Jordan Spieth (golf)

18 Kaka (football)

19 Serena Williams (tennis)

20 Kei Nishikori (tennis)

21 Tom Brady (NFL)

22 Gareth Bale (football)

23 Maria Sharapova (tennis)

24 Dwyane Wade (basketball)

25 Conor McGregor (UFC)

26 Zlatan Ibrahimovic (football)

27 James Rodriguez (football)

28 James Harden (basketball)

29 Alexis Sanchez (football)

30 Mesut Ozil (football)

31 Wayne Rooney (football)

32 Andy Murray (tennis)

33 Derrick Rose (basketball)

34 Kyrie Irving (basketball)

35 Russell Westbrook (basketball)

36 Antoine Griezmann (football)

37 Andres Iniesta (football)

38 Luis Suarez (football)

39 Anderson Silva (UFC)

40 Paul Pogba (football)

41 Carmelo Anthony (basketball)

42 Stan Wawrinka (tennis)

43 Dustin Johnson (golf)

44 Karim Benzema (football)

45 Marcelo (football)

46 Radamel Falcao (football)

47 Cam Newton (NFL)

48 Simone Biles (gymnastics)

49 Sergio Aguero (football)

50 Ivan Rakitic (football)

51 Chris Paul (basketball)

52 Drew Brees (NFL)

53 David Luiz (football)

54 Cesc Fabregas (football)

55 Russell Wilson (NFL)

56 Aaron Rodgers (NFL)

57 Dani Alves (football)

58 Sergio Garcia (golf)

59 Manny Pacquiao (boxing)

60 Eli Manning (NFL)

61 Damian Lillard (basketball)

62 Rickie Fowler (golf)

63 Blake Griffin (basketball)

64 Odell Beckham Jr (NFL)

65 Dwight Howard (basketball)

66 Ning Zetao (swimming)

67 Ryan Lochte (swimming)

68 Bastian Schweinsteiger (football)

69 Dale Earnhardt Jr (motorsport)

70 Javier Hernandez (football)

71 Ma Long (table tennis)

72 Toni Kroos (football)

73 Justin Rose (golf)

74 J.J. Watt (NFL)

75 Hope Solo (football)

76 Thiago Silva (football)

77 Raheem Sterling (football)

78 Eden Hazard (football)

79 Theo Walcott (football)

80 Didier Drogba (football)

81 Mario Gotze (football)

82 Robert Lewandowski (football)

83 Marco Reus (football)

84 Lewis Hamilton (motorsport)

85 Jason Day (golf)

86 Jimmie Johnson (motorsport)

87 Caroline Wozniacki (tennis)

88 Lin Dan (badminton)

89 Saul Alvarez (football)

90 Yuvraj Singh (cricket)

91 Thomas Muller (football)

92 Felipe Massa (motorsport)

93 Eugenie Bouchard (tennis)

94 Bubba Watson (golf)

95 Suresh Raina (cricket)

96 Gabriel Jesus (football)

97 Manuel Neuer (football)

98 Adam Scott (golf)

99 Aly Raisman (gymnastics)

100 Mohamed Salah (football)

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