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The Worlds Most Popular Sports Stars In 2021 Revealed

countries favourite sports stars e1665513921990

New research released has revealed the most popular sportsperson in 170 different countries around the world.

The research, compiled by Sports Shoes, uses Google search data to find out which sports stars are searched for the most in different countries, revealing the most popular male and female athletes around the globe.

Top Female Sportspeople Globally

RankingSportspersonSportAnnual Global Searches
1Ronda RouseyMMA21,666,500
2Alex MorganFootball8,446,340
3Serena WilliamsTennis7,462,710
4Tonya HardingFigure Skating7,254,410
5Paige VanzantMMA6,330,600
6Smriti MandhanaCricket5,923,860
7Joanna JedrzejczykMMA5,595,360
8Amanda NunesMMA4,537,240
9Maria SharapovaTennis4,418,870
10Valentina SchevchenkoMMA3,617,710
11Megan RapinoeFootball3,524,190
12Holly HolmMMA3,466,430
13Rose NamjunasMMA3,217,310
14Sue BirdBasketball2,934,770
15Caster SemenyaMiddle Distance Running2,608,910
16Ellyse PerryCricket2,530,550
17Mikaela ShiffrinSkiing2,450,630
18Laila AliBoxing2,240,270
19Sarah FullerAmerican football and football 
20Miesha TateMMA2,098,980

Top Male Sportspeople Globally

RankingSportspersonSportAnnual Global Searches
1Cristiano RonaldoFootball99,207,840
2Lebron JamesBasketball77,564,570
4Michael JordanBasketball75,210,140
5Tom BradyAmerican Football63,573,740
6Conor McGregorMMA62,375,910
7Mike TysonBoxing51,364,010
8Lionel MessiFootball38,967,190
9Virat KohliCricket33,133,610
10Tyson FuryBoxing31,323,230
12Stephen Curry        Basketball30,281,390
13Lewis HamiltonFormula 126,050,970
14Tiger WoodsGolf23,588,140
16Khabib NurmagomedovMMA21,874,320
17Floyd MayweatherBoxing20,488,400
18Dennis RodmanBasketball20,482,780
19Giannis AntetokounmpoBasketball20,448,480
20Kevin DurantBasketball20,395,370

The World’s Favourite Sports Stars

Renowned footballer Cristiano Ronaldo and UFC superstar Ronda Rousey topped the lists of the world’s favourite male and female sportspeople respectively.

Despite the ongoing debate of whether it’s Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi who is the best footballer of this generation, this research reveals that it is in fact Ronaldo who has captured the most hearts around the world.

The 36-year-old Portuguese footballer has won the Ballon d’Or a whopping five times, with only Messi having won it more times in the award’s lifespan.

Ronaldo is also the top goal scorer of all time for his country, having scored 102 goals for the Portuguese international team.

Admired all around the world, the data revealed Ronaldo to be the number one sports star in 82 different countries, including Italy, Spain and Switzerland.  

NBA legend Lebron James was revealed to be the second most searched for male sports star worldwide, followed by the Brazilian footballer, Neymar. Interestingly, Tom Brady was the only American Footballer to feature on the list.

When it came to world’s most famous female sportspeople, UFC legend Ronda Rousey was able to fight off the competition with ease.

With almost double the amount of annual global searches than footballer Alex Morgan who came in at second place, Rousey topped the list in 93 different countries around the world.

Originally trained in judo, after becoming the first American woman to earn an Olympic medal in the sport at the 2008 Summer Olympics, Rousey began to pursue a career in mixed martial arts.

Rousey then went on to set the record for the most UFC title defences by a woman, losing only twice in the entirety of her professional MMA career. Interestingly, Rousey was one of eight MMA stars to make it into the top 20 list.

Widely regarded as one of the best tennis players of all time, Serena Williams came in third on the list, making it an all-American top three.

Williams has won an incredible 23 Grand Slam singles titles, which is record breaking in the Open Era, and second highest of all time.  

Perhaps surprisingly, Serena’s sister Venus did not feature, despite her also being widely regarded as one of tennis’ all-time greats.

To read the full research and see the illustrative maps showing the top male and female sportsperson in various countries, please visit: