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Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?

Updated September 10, 2020 39.2k votes 2.7k voters 24.1k views77 items

List RulesVote up the most famous athletes in the world right now and those who currently dominate their sport.

When it comes to the most famous athletes in the world right now, a select few names easily top the list. Not only that, but many of these popular players are also some of the best athletes in their respective sport. However, while skill and statistics are surely major factors in ranking athletes by fame, the most famous athlete out doesn't have to be the very best—especially not on this list. In short, it's up to you fans to decide just who takes the title for the most famous athlete, as well as those who follow close behind. 

For starters, we all know famous male athletes like Lebron James, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Roger Federer will find themselves high on the list. Then you have top female athletes like Serena Williams and Hope Solo. Keep in mind, though, the sport isn't necessarily a factor here. Whether you consider natural talent or straight statistics in determining who's the most famous, that's your choice. Perhaps it's who you see on TV the most, or those with the most endorsements. Whatever it is, give your input as to who makes the list of best athletes today with the most fame. 

Cast your votes for the most famous athletes below, and feel free to add any athletes missing from the list. 

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  • 1
    Cristiano Ronaldo is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
    1,448
    703

    BirthplaceSanto António, Portugal

    Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro GOIH ComM (born 5 February 1985) is a Portuguese... more on Wikipedia
  • 2
    Usain Bolt is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
    605
    396

    Usain Bolt

    Age: 34

    BirthplaceSherwood Content, Jamaica

    Usain St Leo Bolt (; born 21 August 1986) is a retired Jamaican sprinter. He is a world... more on Wikipedia

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  • 3
    Lionel Messi is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
    912
    623

    BirthplaceRosario, Argentina

    Lionel Andrés Messi Cuccittini (Spanish pronunciation: [ljoˈnel anˈdɾez ˈmesi] (listen); born... more on Wikipedia

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    #3 of 1,310 The Best Soccer Players of All Time#31 of 1,816 The Best Athletes Of All Time

  • 4
    Roger Federer is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
    792
    595

    BirthplaceBasel, Switzerland

    ← Roger Federer (German pronunciation: [ˈrɔdʒər ˈfeːdərər]; born 8 August 1981) is a Swiss... more on Wikipedia

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  • 5
    Conor McGregor is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
    731
    578

    BirthplaceDublin, Republic of Ireland

    Conor Anthony McGregor (born July 14, 1988) is an Irish former professional mixed martial... more on Wikipedia
  • 6
    Michael Jordan is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
    78
    30

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York

    Michael Jeffrey Jordan (born February 17, 1963), also known by his initials MJ, is an American... more on Wikipedia

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  • 7
    LeBron James is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
    646
    573

    BirthplaceAkron, Ohio, United States of America

    LeBron Raymone James Sr. (; born December 30, 1984) is an American professional basketball... more on Wikipedia

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  • 8
    John Cena is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
    473
    421

    John Cena

    Age: 43

    BirthplaceWest Newbury, Massachusetts, United States of America

    John Felix Anthony Cena Jr. (; born April 23, 1977) is an American professional wrestler,... more on Wikipedia

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  • 9
    Maria Sharapova is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
    595
    544

    BirthplaceNyagan, Russia

    Maria Yuryevna Sharapova (Russian: Мари́я Ю́рьевна Шара́пова, IPA: [mɐˈrʲijə ˈjʉrʲjɪvnə... more on Wikipedia
  • 10
    Rafael Nadal is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
    564
    517

    BirthplaceManacor, Spain

    Rafael "Rafa" Nadal Parera (Catalan: [rəf(ə)ˈɛl nəˈðal pəˈɾeɾə], Spanish: [rafaˈel naˈðal... more on Wikipedia
  • 11
    Neymar is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
    669
    665

    Neymar

    Age: 28

    BirthplaceMogi das Cruzes, Brazil

    Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior (Brazilian Portuguese: [nejˈmaʁ dɐ ˈsiwvɐ ˈsɐ̃tus ˈʒũɲoʁ]; born... more on Wikipedia
  • 12
    Novak Djokovic is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
    491
    506

    BirthplaceBelgrade, Serbia

    Novak Djokovic (Serbian: Новак Ђоковић, romanized: Novak Đoković, pronounced [nôʋaːk... more on Wikipedia
  • 13
    Manuel Neuer is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
    255
    257

    BirthplaceGelsenkirchen, Germany

    Manuel Peter Neuer (German pronunciation: [ˈmaːnu̯eːl ˈnɔʏ.ɐ, -ɛl -]; born 27 March 1986) is a... more on Wikipedia
  • 14
    Virat Kohli is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
    610
    659

    BirthplaceDelhi, India

    Virat Kohli (pronunciation ; born 5 November 1988) is an Indian cricketer who currently... more on Wikipedia

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  • 15
    Tom Brady is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
    415
    448

    Tom Brady

    Age: 43

    BirthplaceSan Mateo, California, United States of America

    Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr. (born August 3, 1977) is an American football quarterback for... more on Wikipedia

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  • 16
    Lindsey Vonn is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
    272
    306

    BirthplaceSaint Paul, Minnesota, United States of America

    Lindsey Caroline Vonn (née Kildow ; born October 18, 1984) is an American former World Cup... more on Wikipedia

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  • 17
    Serena Williams is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
    333
    388

    BirthplaceSaginaw, Michigan, United States of America

    Serena Jameka Williams (born September 26, 1981) is an American professional tennis player and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 18
    Yelena Isinbayeva is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
    243
    280

    BirthplaceVolgograd, Russia

    Yelena Gadzhievna Isinbayeva (Russian: Елена Гаджиевна Исинбаева, IPA: [jɪˈlʲɛnə gɐˈdʐɨjɪvnə... more on Wikipedia
  • 19
    Mikaela Shiffrin is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
    177
    216

    Mikaela Shiffrin

    Age: 25

    BirthplaceVail, Colorado

    Mikaela Pauline Shiffrin is an American World Cup alpine ski racer with the U.S. Ski Team,... more on Wikipedia
  • 20
    Katie Ledecky is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
    162
    201

    BirthplaceBethesda, Maryland

    Kathleen Genevieve Ledecky is an American competition swimmer, Olympic gold medalist, and... more on Wikipedia
  • 21
    Laura Dahlmeier is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
    152
    189

    BirthplaceGarmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany

    Laura Dahlmeier is a German biathlete. Dahlmeier started in her first world cup races in the... more on Wikipedia
  • 22
    Stephen Curry is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
    321
    419

    BirthplaceAkron, Ohio, United States of America

    Wardell Stephen "Steph" Curry II ( STEF-ən; born March 14, 1988) is an American professional... more on Wikipedia

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  • 23
    Rory McIlroy is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
    301
    402

    BirthplaceHolywood, Bangor, United Kingdom

    Rory McIlroy (born 4 May 1989) is a professional golfer from Northern Ireland who is a member... more on Wikipedia

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  • 24
    Andrés Iniesta is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
    378
    517

    BirthplaceFuentealbilla, Spain

    Andrés Iniesta Luján (Spanish pronunciation: [anˈdɾes iˈnjesta luˈxan]; born 11 May 1984) is a... more on Wikipedia

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    #27 of 356 The Best Current Soccer Players#30 of 103 Coolest Soccer Players

  • 25
    Marcel Hirscher is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
    148
    203

    BirthplaceAnnaberg-Lungötz, Austria

    Marcel Hirscher (born 2 March 1989) is an Austrian World Cup alpine ski racer. Hirscher made... more on Wikipedia

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