Sports

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

Celebrity Lists
Updated May 15, 2020 30.4k votes 2.4k voters 20.9k views 76 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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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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#14 of 2,181 The Best Athletes Of All Time #265 of 2,444 The Most Influential People of All Time #2 of 1,419 The Best Soccer Players 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

Birthplace: Dublin, Republic of Ireland

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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#4 of 2,181 The Best Athletes Of All Time #763 of 2,444 The Most Influential People of All Time #1,323 of 1,471 The Greatest Minds of All Time

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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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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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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10
LeBron James is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
Age: 34

Birthplace: Akron, Ohio

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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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
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
Virat Kohli is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
Age: 30

Birthplace: Delhi, 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
13
Manuel Neuer is listed (or ranked) 13 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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#219 of 2,181 The Best Athletes Of All Time #27 of 1,419 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #3 of 230 The Best Soccer Goalies of All Time

14
Lindsey Vonn is listed (or ranked) 14 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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15
Tom Brady is listed (or ranked) 15 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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16
Rory McIlroy is listed (or ranked) 16 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
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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18
Andrés Iniesta is listed (or ranked) 18 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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19
Mikaela Shiffrin is listed (or ranked) 19 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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20
Katie Ledecky is listed (or ranked) 20 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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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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22
Serena Williams is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
Age: 37

Birthplace: Saginaw, Michigan, United States of America

Serena Jameka Williams (born September 26, 1981) is an American professional tennis player and former world No. 1. The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) ranked her world No. 1 in singles on eight ...more

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23
Alistair Brownlee is listed (or ranked) 23 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
24
Marcel Hirscher is listed (or ranked) 24 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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25
Michael Jordan is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?
312366 added Age: 56

Birthplace: New York City, USA, New York

Michael Jeffrey Jordan (born February 17, 1963), also known by his initials MJ, is an American former professional basketball player and the principal owner of the Charlotte Hornets of the ...more

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