Jun 1, 2021



New research released today has revealed the most popular sportsperson in 170 different countries around the world.
The research, compiled by, 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
Ranking Sportsperson Sport Annual Global Searches
1 Ronda Rousey         MMA     21,666,500
2 Alex Morgan             Football 8,446,340
3 Serena Williams         Tennis       7,462,710
4 Tonya Harding Figure       Skating       7,254,410
5 Paige Vanzant             MMA       6,330,600
6 Smriti Mandhana         Cricket       5,923,860
7 Joanna Jedrzejczyk   MMA       5,595,360
8 Amanda Nunes         MMA       4,537,240
9 Maria Sharapova       Tennis       4,418,870
10 Valentina Schevchenko   MMA       3,617,710
11 Megan Rapinoe         Football 3,524,190
12 Holly Holm             MMA       3,466,430
13 Rose Namjunas         MMA       3,217,310
14 Sue Bird                   Basketball 2,934,770
15 Caster Semenya         Middle Distance Running 2,608,910
16 Ellyse Perry             Cricket       2,530,550
17 Mikaela Shiffrin         Skiing       2,450,630
18 Laila Ali                   Boxing       2,240,270
19 Sarah Fuller             American football and football
20 Miesha Tate             MMA 2,098,980

Top Male Sportspeople Globally
Ranking Sportsperson Sport Annual Global Searches
1 Cristiano Ronaldo     Football           99,207,840
2 Lebron James           Basketball     77,564,570
3 Neymar                 Football           76,622,600
4 Michael Jordan     Basketball     75,210,140
5 Tom Brady           American Football 63,573,740
6 Conor McGregor     MMA               62,375,910
7 Mike Tyson           Boxing           51,364,010
8 Lionel Messi           Football           38,967,190
9 Virat Kohli           Cricket           33,133,610
10 Tyson Fury           Boxing           31,323,230
11 Ronaldinho           Football           30,366,410
12 Stephen Curry       Basketball     30,281,390
13 Lewis Hamilton       Formula 1     26,050,970
14 Tiger Woods           Golf               23,588,140
15 Pelé                       Football           23,486,730
16 Khabib Nurmagomedov MMA           21,874,320
17 Floyd Mayweather       Boxing           20,488,400
18 Dennis Rodman       Basketball     20,482,780
19 Giannis Antetokounmpo Basketball         20,448,480
20 Kevin Durant           Basketball     20,395,370

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:


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