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The World's Most Popular Athletes

Who is the most popular athletes in the world? We know that the most popular sport is football (soccer), and the most popular sporting event is the FIFA World Cup, so the most popular athlete may also come from that sport. The highest paid athlete has recently been a soccer player, but athletes from boxing, tennis and golf also have topped that list. As with the discussion of the most popular sport, deciding on the criteria to define who is the most popular is not a simple process.

What Does Popular Mean?

The problem with listing the world's most popular athletes is coming up with a clear definition of popular. By popular, do you mean most searched online, most news headlines, most social media followers, or most or the most talked about! Just some of the factors which could help determine the lists of popular athletes include on who you ask - their age and sex, the sports they play and watch, and where in the world they are from.

Soccer is King

It is no surprise that the most famous sports person according to the ESPN World Fame 100 list for the last few years is footballer Cristiano Ronaldo. However, the women's list has been shared by tennis and MMA.

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Lists Extra

Football/Soccer is clearly the world's most popular sport, and has the most popular athletes, but which sport has the fittest players (but not necessarily the greatest athlete). These players do not always earn the most. The best of the best have made it to our 7 Sporting Wonders Lists.

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