Sports

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

Celebrity Lists
26.4k votes 2k voters 16.1k views 70 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 ComM (European Portuguese: [kɾiʃˈtjɐnu ʁoˈnaɫdu]; born 5 February 1985) is a Portuguese professional footballer who plays as a forward for Serie A club ...more

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2
Usain Bolt is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
bigcraig added age 32
Usain St Leo Bolt (; born 21 August 1986) is a retired Jamaican sprinter. He is a world record holder in the 100 metres, 200 metres and 4 × 100 metres relay. Owing to his achievements and ...more

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#4 of 2,196 The Best Athletes Of All Time #1,935 of 2,836 The Most Influential People of All Time #1,082 of 1,472 The Greatest Minds of All Time

3
Roger Federer is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
age 37
← Roger Federer (German pronunciation: [ˈrɔdʒər ˈfeːdərər]; born 8 August 1981) is a Swiss professional tennis player who is currently ranked world No. 3 in men's singles tennis by the ...more

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#13 of 2,196 The Best Athletes Of All Time #4 of 41 The Best Men's Tennis Serves of All Timelisted on Famous Friends of Serena Williams

4
Conor McGregor is listed (or ranked) 4 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
5
Lionel Messi is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
age 31
Lionel Andrés Messi Cuccittini (Spanish pronunciation: [ljoˈnel anˈdɾez ˈmesi] (listen); born 24 June 1987) is an Argentine professional footballer who plays as a forward and captains ...more

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#8 of 2,196 The Best Athletes Of All Time #1,577 of 2,836 The Most Influential People of All Time #82 of 291 The Most Obnoxious Athletes

6
Maria Sharapova is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
age 31
Maria Yuryevna Sharapova (Russian: Мари́я Ю́рьевна Шара́пова, IPA: [mɐˈrʲijə ˈjʉrʲjɪvnə ʂɐˈrapəvə] (listen); born April 19, 1987) is a Russian professional tennis player. A United States ...more

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7
Rafael Nadal is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
age 32
Rafael "Rafa" Nadal Parera (Catalan: [rəf(ə)ˈɛl nəˈðal pəˈɾeɾə], Spanish: [rafaˈel naˈðal paˈɾeɾa]; born 3 June 1986) is a Spanish professional tennis player, currently ranked ...more

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#106 of 2,196 The Best Athletes Of All Time #160 of 291 The Most Obnoxious Athletes #395 of 527 Famous Men You'd Want to Have a Beer With

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 (Serbian: Новак Ђоковић, romanized: Novak Đoković, pronounced [nôʋaːk dʑôːkoʋitɕ] (listen); born 22 May 1987) is a Serbian professional tennis player who is currently ...more

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#128 of 2,196 The Best Athletes Of All Time #12 of 117 The Funniest Professional Athletes #3 of 127 The Best Men's Tennis Players in the World Right Now

9
Neymar is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
age 27
Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior (Brazilian Portuguese: [nejˈmaʁ dɐ ˈsiwvɐ ˈsɐ̃tus ˈʒũɲoʁ]; born 5 February 1992), commonly known as Neymar Jr. or simply Neymar, is a Brazilian professional ...more

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#1,286 of 2,196 The Best Athletes Of All Time #35 of 1,397 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #24 of 103 Coolest Soccer Players

10
Lindsey Vonn is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
Hormony added age 34
Lindsey Caroline Vonn (née Kildow ; born October 18, 1984) is an American former World Cup alpine ski racer on the US Ski Team. She won four World Cup overall championships—one of only ...more

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11
Virat Kohli is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
age 30
Virat Kohli (pronunciation ; born 5 November 1988) is an Indian cricketer who currently captains the India national team. A right-handed top-order batsman, Kohli is regarded as one of the best ...more

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#22 of 202 The All-Around Best Athletes of 2018 #65 of 90 The All-Around Best Athletes of 2019 #29 of 71 The Most Influential Athletes Right Now

12
Manuel Neuer is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
Mungomax added age 32
Manuel Peter Neuer (German pronunciation: [ˈmaːnu̯eːl ˈnɔʏ.ɐ, -ɛl -]; born 27 March 1986) is a German professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper and captain for both Bayern Munich and the ...more

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#145 of 2,196 The Best Athletes Of All Time #46 of 1,397 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #33 of 103 Coolest Soccer Players

13
Katie Ledecky is listed (or ranked) 13 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
14
John Cena is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
KittyBusiness added age 41
John Felix Anthony Cena Jr. (; born April 23, 1977) is an American professional wrestler, actor, rapper, and TV personality. As a wrestler, he is currently signed to WWE. As a TV personality, he ...more

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15
Rory McIlroy is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
age 29
Rory McIlroy (born 4 May 1989) is a professional golfer from Northern Ireland who is a member of both the European and PGA Tours. He was world number one in the Official World Golf Ranking for ...more
16
LeBron James is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
age 34
LeBron Raymone James Sr. (; born December 30, 1984) is an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). His accomplishments ...more

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17
Mikaela Shiffrin is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
Mungomax added Mikaela Shiffrin 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

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18
Andrés Iniesta is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
age 34
Andrés Iniesta Luján (Spanish pronunciation: [anˈdɾes iˈnjesta luˈxan]; born 11 May 1984) is a Spanish professional footballer who plays as a central midfielder for Japanese club ...more

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#1,114 of 2,196 The Best Athletes Of All Time #25 of 1,397 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #38 of 103 Coolest Soccer Players

19
Yelena Isinbayeva is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
Hormony added age 36
Yelena Gadzhievna Isinbayeva (Russian: Елена Гаджиевна Исинбаева, IPA: [jɪˈlʲɛnə gɐˈdʐɨjɪvnə ɪsʲɪnˈbajɪvə]; born 3 June 1982) is a Russian former pole vaulter. She is a two-time Olympic gold ...more

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#105 of 2,196 The Best Athletes Of All Time #5 of 231 The Best Female Athletes of All Time #147 of 678 Rank the Sexiest Current Female Athletes

20
Laura Dahlmeier is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
Mungomax added age 25
Laura Dahlmeier is a German biathlete. Dahlmeier started in her first world cup races in the 2012/13-season. In 2014 she participated in the Winter Olympics in Sochi. She was officially ...more

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21
Alistair Brownlee is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
Mungomax added age 30
Alistair Edward Brownlee, MBE (born 23 April 1988) is a British triathlete. He is the only athlete to hold two Olympic titles in the triathlon event, winning gold medals in the 2012 and 2016 ...more
22
Jason Kenny is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
Mungomax added age 30
Jason Francis Kenny, (born 23 March 1988) is a British track cyclist, specialising in the individual and team sprints. After winning multiple World and European Junior titles in 2006 and ...more

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#301 of 2,196 The Best Athletes Of All Time #12 of 41 The Most Impressive Athletes at the Rio Olympics #2 of 84 The Best Olympic Athletes in Track Cycling

23
Marcel Hirscher is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
Mungomax added age 29
Marcel Hirscher (born 2 March 1989) is an Austrian World Cup alpine ski racer. Hirscher made his World Cup debut in March 2007. He competes primarily in slalom and giant slalom, as well as ...more

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#131 of 2,196 The Best Athletes Of All Time #2 of 73 The Greatest Alpine Skiers of All Time #1 of 43 The Best Alpine Skiers in the World Right Now

24
Mahé Drysdale is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
Mungomax added age 40
Alexander Mahé Owens Drysdale (born 19 November 1978) is a New Zealand rower. Drysdale is the current Olympic champion and five-time World champion in the single sculls. The name ...more
25
Tom Brady is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
age 41
Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr. (born August 3, 1977) is an American football quarterback for the New England Patriots of the National Football League (NFL). Brady has played in nine Super ...more

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