The most successful article on top global athletes become household names and drive interest for clubs, leagues and media partners worldwide. They inspire and captivate fans with their incredible performances, and make them global celebrities. However, what do the top global athletes really look like outside of their home countries? And which are the best of the best? Altman Solon recently launched its 2021 Global Sports Survey and sought to answer these questions.
The results are in, and the top 10 athletes globally are dominated by soccer stars, with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo topping the list. The list also includes the likes of American basketball superstar LeBron James, Indian cricket star Virat Kohli, and US golfer Rory McIlroy.
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Aside from soccer, the top ten also features one of the most decorated Olympians in history, American swimmer Michael Phelps. With 28 Olympic gold medals and 13 world records, he is a global icon. Another world-class athlete is USA gymnast Simone Biles, who is already rewriting the sport’s record books at age 20, and a new generation of stars, such as America’s Caeleb Dressel, are on the verge of following in Phelps’ footsteps.
The survey also revealed a number of interesting trends, including that the most popular athletes in North America are stars of their country’s most popular sport – Tom Brady (American football), Sidney Crosby (Canadian hockey) and Canelo Alvarez (Mexico, boxing). In Latin America, soccer superstars with local roots dominate, and Argentina’s Lionel Messi is more popular than Brazil’s Neymar.