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

Updated September 10, 2020 45.4k votes 3.3k voters 30.6k 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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  • Cristiano Ronaldo1
    1,722
    844

    BirthplaceSanto António, Portugal

    Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro GOIH ComM (born 5 February 1985) is a Portuguese...  more

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  • Lionel Messi2
    1,171
    753

    BirthplaceRosario, Argentina

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

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    #14 of 1,427 The Best Athletes Of All Time#3 of 1,310 The Best Soccer Players of All Time

  • Michael Jordan3
    265
    145

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York, United States of America

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

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  • Usain Bolt4
    749
    521

    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

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    #973 of 2,443 The Most Influential People of All Time#1291 of 1,355 The Greatest Minds of All Time

  • Roger Federer5
    890
    731

    BirthplaceBasel, Switzerland

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

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    #6 of 216 The Greatest Men's Tennis Players of All Time#20 of 83 The Greatest Male Tennis Players of the Open Era

  • LeBron James6
    802
    674

    BirthplaceAkron, Ohio

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

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  • Conor McGregor7
    844
    722

    BirthplaceDublin, Republic of Ireland

    Conor Anthony McGregor (born July 14, 1988) is an Irish former professional mixed martial...  more
  • Neymar8
    787
    750

    Neymar

    Age: 28

    BirthplaceMogi das Cruzes, Brazil

    Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior (Brazilian Portuguese: [nejˈmaʁ dɐ ˈsiwvɐ ˈsɐ̃tus ˈʒũɲoʁ]; born...  more

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    #24 of 138 The Greatest South American Footballers of All Time#13 of 266 The Best Soccer Players from Brazil

  • Virat Kohli9
    799
    777

    BirthplaceDelhi, India

    Virat Kohli (pronunciation ; born 5 November 1988) is an Indian cricketer who currently...  more
  • Rafael Nadal10
    637
    622

    BirthplaceManacor, Spain

    Rafael "Rafa" Nadal Parera (Catalan: [rəf(ə)ˈɛl nəˈðal pəˈɾeɾə], Spanish: [rafaˈel naˈðal...  more

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    #43 of 116 The Greatest Left-Handed Athletes of All Time#2 of 33 Best Current Men's Tennis Serves

  • John Cena11
    570
    553

    John Cena

    Age: 43
    John Felix Anthony Cena Jr. (; born April 23, 1977) is an American professional wrestler,...  more

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  • Novak Djokovic12
    564
    578

    BirthplaceBelgrade, Serbia

    Novak Djokovic (Serbian: Новак Ђоковић, romanized: Novak Đoković, pronounced [nôʋaːk...  more

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    #67 of 163 The Smartest Professional Athletes#2 of 17 The Most Clutch Athletes in Sports Today

  • Maria Sharapova13
    631
    663

    BirthplaceNyagan, Russia

    Maria Yuryevna Sharapova (Russian: Мари́я Ю́рьевна Шара́пова, IPA: [mɐˈrʲijə ˈjʉrʲjɪvnə...  more

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    #71 of 88 The Best Female Celebrity Role Models#228 of 329 The Most Obnoxious Athletes

  • Manuel Neuer14
    325
    351

    BirthplaceGelsenkirchen, Germany

    Manuel Peter Neuer (German pronunciation: [ˈmaːnu̯eːl ˈnɔʏ.ɐ, -ɛl -]; born 27 March 1986) is a...  more

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    #5 of 188 The Best Soccer Goalies of All Time#6 of 32 The Best Goalies In The World Right Now

  • Serena Williams15
    411
    449

    BirthplaceSaginaw, Michigan, United States of America

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

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    #12 of 319 The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models#198 of 199 Famous Women You'd Want to Have a Beer With

  • Tom Brady16
    493
    542

    Tom Brady

    Age: 38

    BirthplaceSan Mateo, California, United States of America

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

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  • Stephen Curry17
    389
    474

    BirthplaceAkron, Ohio, United States of America

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

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  • Tiger Woods18
    312
    425

    BirthplaceCypress, California, United States of America

    Eldrick Tont "Tiger" Woods (born December 30, 1975) is an American professional golfer. He...  more

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  • Andrés Iniesta19
    412
    565

    BirthplaceFuentealbilla, Spain

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

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    #27 of 103 Coolest Soccer Players#6 of 21 The Best Short Male Athletes

  • Lindsey Vonn20
    283
    402

    BirthplaceSaint Paul, Minnesota, United States of America

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

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  • Mohamed Salah21
    45
    62

    Mohamed Salah

    Age: 28

    BirthplaceBasyoun, Egypt

    Mohamed Salah Hamed Mahrous Ghaly (born 15 June 1992) is an Egyptian professional footballer...  more

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    #3 of 164 Who's the Best Player in the Premier League?#70 of 115 The Funniest Professional Athletes

  • Rory McIlroy22
    317
    457

    BirthplaceHolywood, Bangor, United Kingdom

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

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    #3 of 60 The Best Professional Golfers Right Now, Ranked#1 of 14 The Best Irish Golfers of All Time

  • Yelena Isinbayeva23
    255
    369

    BirthplaceVolgograd, Russia

    Yelena Gadzhievna Isinbayeva (Russian: Елена Гаджиевна Исинбаева, IPA: [jɪˈlʲɛnə gɐˈdʐɨjɪvnə...  more

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    #14 of 47 Overhyped Athletes Who Still Performed#112 of 152 The Most Influential Athletes Of All Time

  • Mikaela Shiffrin24
    195
    296

    Mikaela Shiffrin

    Age: 25

    BirthplaceVail, Colorado

    Mikaela Pauline Shiffrin is an American World Cup alpine ski racer with the U.S. Ski Team,...  more

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    #111 of 670 Rank the Sexiest Current Female Athletes#22 of 96 The All-Around Best Athletes of 2019

  • Laura Dahlmeier25
    155
    262

    BirthplaceGarmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany

    Laura Dahlmeier is a German biathlete. Dahlmeier started in her first world cup races in the...  more

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    #7 of 32 The Best Biathletes in the World Right Now#3 of 189 The Best Olympic Athletes in Biathlon