Cristiano Ronaldo Crowned Most Famous Athlete on Planet - Rolling Stone
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Cristiano Ronaldo Crowned Most Famous Athlete on Planet

ESPN’s World Fame 100 list includes LeBron James, Serena Williams Tom Brady and others

Cristiano Ronaldo Real MadridCristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid

Soccer players dominate the list of most popular athletes in the world according to social media stats and endorsement money.

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty

Ahead of this weekend’s Champions League final, Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo picked up yet another honor as he was named the number one athlete on ESPN’s World Fame 100.

In ESPN’s estimation, Ronaldo, who is regarded as one of the world’s best soccer players and 261 Million followers on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram combined, is the currently the world’s most famous athlete.

ESPN created a formula that combines brand endorsements, social media following and online search popularity to create the rankings.

The notable breakdowns on the list include:

  • 38 soccer players (The most on the list)
  • Roger Federer pulls in $60 Million in endorsements (The most of the list).
  • No baseball or hockey players 

Ronaldo’s rival and FC Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi made the list at number three, his Barca teammate Neymar checked in at the sixth spot, Arsenal strikers Alexis Sanchez (number 29) and Theo Wolcott (number 79), along with Manchester United star Zlatan Ibrahimović (number 26) were some of the other notables representatives of the sport that made the list.

Soccer’s dominance shouldn’t come as such a surprise, but with four players including James, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry and Dwyane Wade in the top 25, NBA players have the most visible presence of any North American professional sport. Women athletes don’t crack the list until Ronda Rousey checks in at number 16, followed by Serena Williams at 19 and American golfer Phil Mickleson is the second American athlete on the list after James, coming in at number five with no Instagram, Facebook or Twitter followers listed, but $50 million in endorsements. 

The top ten of ESPN’s World Fame 100 was rounded out by Jamaican track star Usain Bolt (number 7), tennis player Roger Federer (number4) and golf legend Tiger Woods in the tenth spot. 

The rest of the World Fame 100 had notable sports figures such as New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (number 21), MMA fighter Conor McGregor (number 25),soccer goaltender Hope Solo (number 75), gymnast Aly Raisman (number 99) and boxing champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (number 89) among others. 

In This Article: NBA, Soccer


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