British sports media, GiveMeSport, has ranked Inter Miami captain Lionel Messi as the seventh most popular athlete ever.
The Argentina star, along with his compatriot Diego Maradona and Brazil legend Pele, is one of only three footballers to make the top 10 list.
The Inter Miami new signee led his country to a historic FIFA World Cup triumph in 2022, adding to his numerous club and individual honors. He edged out his eternal rival Cristiano Ronaldo, who failed to make the top 10 cut.
Maradona, who passed away in 2020, topped the list as the most iconic sportsman ever, thanks to his heroics in the 1986 World Cup and his remarkable career with Napoli and Barcelona.
Basketball legend Michael Jordan, widely considered the greatest player in NBA history, followed him.
Late Brazilian icon Pele, who won three World Cups with Brazil and scored over 1,000 goals in his career, came third on the list, ahead of baseball icon Babe Ruth and another basketball star, Larry Bird.
Tennis legend Roger Federer, who holds the record for most Grand Slam titles in men’s singles, was ranked sixth.
The top 10 list are ice hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, Australia’s cricketing legend Sir Donald Bradman, and basketball star LeBron James.
Other notable names in the top 15 list included Tom Brady (American football), Usain Bolt (athletics), Serena Williams (tennis), Muhammad Ali (boxing) and Cristiano Ronaldo (football).
Here is the full list of the most popular athletes of all time according to GiveMeSport:
- Diego Maradona (football)
- Michael Jordan (basketball)
- Pele (football)
- Babe Ruth (baseball)
- Larry Bird (basketball)
- Roger Federer (tennis)
- Lionel Messi (football)
- Wayne Gretzky (ice hockey)
- Sir Donald Bradman (cricket)
- LeBron James (basketball)
- Tom Brady (American football)
- Usain Bolt (athletics)
- Serena Williams (tennis)
- Muhammad Ali (boxing)
- Cristiano Ronaldo (football)
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