Sports

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

Celebrity Lists
Updated March 3, 2020 27.8k votes 2.2k voters 17.8k 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

Birthplace: Santo António, Portugal

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
Roger Federer is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
Age: 37

Birthplace: Basel, Switzerland

← 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 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #2 of 200 The All-Around Best Athletes of 2018 #7 of 18 Coolest Athlete Logos

3
Lionel Messi is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
Age: 31

Birthplace: Rosario, Argentina

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 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #1,537 of 2,828 The Most Influential People of All Time

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
Usain Bolt is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
bigcraig added Age: 32

Birthplace: Sherwood Content, Jamaica

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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#5 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #289 of 290 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

Birthplace: Nyagan, Russia

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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#95 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #65 of 677 Rank the Sexiest Current Female Athletes

7
Rafael Nadal is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
Age: 32

Birthplace: Manacor, Spain

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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8
Neymar is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
Age: 27

Birthplace: Mogi das Cruzes, Brazil

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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#35 of 1,412 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #17 of 103 Coolest Soccer Players #9 of 136 The Greatest South American Footballers of All Time

9
Novak Djokovic is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
Age: 31

Birthplace: Belgrade, Serbia

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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#55 of 179 The Smartest Professional Athletes #4 of 200 The All-Around Best Athletes of 2018

10
Virat Kohli is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
Age: 30

Birthplace: Delhi, Eurasia, India

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
11
John Cena is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
KittyBusiness added Age: 41

Birthplace: West Newbury, Massachusetts, United States of America

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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12
LeBron James is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
Age: 34

Birthplace: Akron, Ohio, United States of America

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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#262 of 274 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #17 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time The Best LeBron 16 Colorways, Ranked

13
Lindsey Vonn is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
Hormony added Age: 34

Birthplace: Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States of America

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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#375 of 470 Famous Women You'd Want to Have a Beer With #177 of 677 Rank the Sexiest Current Female Athletes

14
Manuel Neuer is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
Mungomax added Age: 32

Birthplace: Gelsenkirchen, Germany

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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#46 of 1,412 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #8 of 541 The Best Current Soccer Players

15
Rory McIlroy is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
Age: 29

Birthplace: Holywood, Bangor, United Kingdom

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
Andrés Iniesta is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
Age: 34

Birthplace: Fuentealbilla, Spain

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 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #9 of 541 The Best Current Soccer Players

17
Yelena Isinbayeva is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
Hormony added Age: 36

Birthplace: Volgograd, Russia

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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#5 of 229 The Best Female Athletes of All Time #3 of 47 Overhyped Athletes Who Still Performed

18
Mikaela Shiffrin is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
Mungomax added Mikaela Shiffrin Age: 23

Birthplace: Vail, Colorado

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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#374 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #44 of 229 The Best Female Athletes of All Time

19
Katie Ledecky is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
Mungomax added Age: 21

Birthplace: Bethesda, Maryland

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

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#1,171 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #62 of 229 The Best Female Athletes of All Time

20
Tom Brady is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
Age: 38

Birthplace: San Mateo, California, United States of America

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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21
Laura Dahlmeier is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
Mungomax added Age: 25

Birthplace: Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany

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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#1,469 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #63 of 229 The Best Female Athletes of All Time

22
Alistair Brownlee is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
Mungomax added Age: 30

Birthplace: Dewsbury, United Kingdom

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
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

Birthplace: Annaberg-Lungötz, Austria

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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#130 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #2 of 74 The Greatest Alpine Skiers of All Time

24
Jason Kenny is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
Mungomax added Age: 30

Birthplace: Bolton, United Kingdom

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
25
Mahé Drysdale is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
Mungomax added Age: 40

Birthplace: Melbourne, Australia

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

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#341 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #3 of 41 The Most Impressive Athletes at the Rio Olympics