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

Celebrity Lists
19.7k votes 1.4k voters 8.6k views 71 items

List Rules Vote 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. 

list ordered by
1
Cristiano Ronaldo is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
age 34
Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro, GOIH, known as Cristiano Ronaldo, is a Portuguese professional footballer who plays for Spanish club Real Madrid C.F. and the Portugal national team. He is a ...more
2
Roger Federer is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
age 34
Tennis player Roger Federer (born August 8, 1981) is a Swiss tennis professional, currently ranked World No. 1. Many experts and many of his own tennis peers believe that Federer may be the ...more
3
Conor McGregor is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
age 30
Conor Anthony McGregor (born July 14, 1988) is an Irish former professional mixed martial artist and boxer. He is the former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) featherweight and lightweight ...more
4
Usain Bolt is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
bigcraig added age 32
Usain St. Leo Bolt, OJ, CD, is a Jamaican sprinter. Widely regarded as the fastest person ever, he is the first man to hold both the 100 metres and 200 metres world records since fully automatic ...more
5
Maria Sharapova is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
age 31
Maria Yuryevna Sharapova is a Russian professional tennis player, who as of October 6, 2014 is ranked world No. 2 by the Women's Tennis Association. A United States resident since 1994, ...more
6
Rafael Nadal is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
age 32
Rafael "Rafa" Nadal Parera is a Spanish professional tennis player currently ranked world No. 5. He is widely regarded as one of the finest clay court players in history and has been ...more
7
Neymar is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
age 27
Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, commonly known as Neymar or Neymar Jr., is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays for Spanish club FC Barcelona and is the captain for the Brazil ...more
8
Novak Djokovic is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
age 31
Novak Djokovic is a Serbian professional tennis player who is currently ranked world No. 1 by the Association of Tennis Professionals. He is considered to be one of the greatest tennis players ...more
9
Virat Kohli is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
age 30
Virat Kohli is an Indian cricketer. A right-handed middle-order batsman, he is the captain of the Indian Test team. He captained the victorious Indian team at the 2008 U/19 Cricket World Cup ...more
10
Lionel Messi is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
age 31
Lionel Andrés "Leo" Messi Cuccittini is an Argentine professional footballer who plays for Spanish club FC Barcelona and the Argentina national team. He is a forward and serves ...more
11
Andrés Iniesta is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
age 34
Andrés Iniesta Luján is a Spanish professional footballer who plays for FC Barcelona and the Spain national team as a central midfielder. Iniesta came through La Masia, the ...more
12
Rory McIlroy is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
age 29
Rory McIlroy, MBE is a Northern Irish professional golfer from Holywood in County Down who is a member of both the European and PGA Tours. He is the current World Number One and a four-time ...more
13
Sun Yang is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
age 27
Sun Yang is a Chinese Olympic and world-record-holding distance swimmer. He swam for China at the 2008 Olympics. At the 2010 Asian Games, he won the men's 1500m freestyle in an Asian Record; ...more
14
LeBron James is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
age 34
LeBron Raymone James is an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association. Standing at 6 ft 8 in and weighing 250 lbs., he has started ...more
15
Lindsey Vonn is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
Hormony added age 34
Lindsey Caroline Vonn is an American World Cup alpine ski racer on the United States Ski Team. She has won four World Cup championships—one of two female skiers to do so, along with Annemarie ...more
16
Yelena Isinbayeva is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
Hormony added age 36
Yelena Gadzhievna Isinbayeva is a Russian pole vaulter. She is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, a three-time World Champion, the current world record holder in the event, who is widely ...more
17
Manuel Neuer is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
Mungomax added age 32
Manuel Peter Neuer is a German footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for Bayern Munich and the German national team. He has been described as a "sweeper-keeper" because of his unique ...more
18
John Cena is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
KittyBusiness added age 41
John Felix Anthony Cena is an American professional wrestler, rapper and actor signed to WWE, where he is the current WWE United States Champion in his fourth reign. Cena is the public face of ...more
19
Marcel Hirscher is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
Mungomax added age 29
Marcel Hirscher is an alpine skier.
20
Tom Brady is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
age 41
Thomas Edward Patrick "Tom" Brady, Jr., nicknamed Tom Terrific, is an American football quarterback for the New England Patriots of the National Football League. After playing college ...more
21
Katie Ledecky is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
Mungomax added age 21
Kathleen Genevieve Ledecky is an American competition swimmer, Olympic gold medalist, and current world record-holder in multiple events. She is the current world record holder in the 400-, ...more
22
Mahé Drysdale is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
Mungomax added age 40
Alexander Mahé Owens Drysdale, MNZM is a New Zealand rower. Drysdale is the current Olympic champion and five-time World champion in the single sculls. The name Mahé comes from the ...more
23
Mikaela Shiffrin is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
Mungomax added age 23
Mikaela Pauline Shiffrin is an American World Cup alpine ski racer with the U.S. Ski Team, specializing in the technical events of slalom and giant slalom. She is the reigning Olympic, World ...more
24
Stephen Curry is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
age 30
Wardell Stephen "Steph" Curry II is an American professional basketball player who plays for the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association. Listed at 6 ft 3 in tall ...more
25
Serena Williams is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
age 37
Serena Jameka Williams is an American professional tennis player who is currently ranked No. 1 in women's singles tennis. The Women's Tennis Association has ranked her World No. 1 in singles on ...more