The 20 most popular athletes in the world

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Who is the most popular athlete in the world? To answer this question Ben Alamar, ESPN’s director of sports analytics, came up with a way to measure every top athlete’s fame. The formula uses earnings on and off the field, social-media popularity, and Google search popularity. Below we take a closer look at the 20 most popular athletes in the world.

No. 20 Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Sport: Soccer
Country: Sweden
Salary: $33.1 million
Endorsements: $6.0 million
Facebook likes: 24.3 million
Twitter followers: (does not have a Twitter page)

No. 19 Rory McIlroy

Sport: Golf
Country: Northern Ireland
Salary: $16.3 million
Endorsments: $32.0 million
Facebook likes: 1.1 million
Twitter followers: 2.9 million

No. 18 Mesut Özil

Sport: Soccer
Country: Germany
Salary: $12.8 million
Endorsements: $6.5 million
Facebook likes: 30.0 million
Twitter followers: 10.7 million

No. 17 Maria Sharapova

Sport: Tennis
Country: Russia
Salary: $6.7 million
Endorsements: $23.0 million
Facebook likes: 15.5 million
Twitter followers: 2.2 million

No. 16 Wayne Rooney

Sport: Soccer
Country: England
Salary: $19.9 million
Endorsements: $7.0 million
Facebook likes: 25.4 million
Twitter followers: 12.9 million

No. 15 Novak Djokovic

Sport: Tennis
Country: Serbia
Salary: $17.2 million
Endorsements: $31.0 million
Facebook likes: 6.6 million
Twitter followers: 5.3 million

No. 14 Usain Bolt

Sport: Track and Field
Country: Jamaica
Salary: $0 million
Endorsements: $21.0 million
Facebook likes: 17.2 million
Twitter followers: 4.0 million

No. 13 MS Dhoni

Sport: Cricket
Country: India
Salary: $4.0 million
Endorsements: $27.0 million
Facebook likes: 18.4 million
Twitter followers: 5.4 million

No. 12 Phil Mickelson

Sport: Golf
Country: United States
Salary: $2.8 million
Endorsements: $48.0 million
Facebook likes: (does not have a Facebook page)
Twitter followers: (does not have a Twitter page)

No. 11 Gareth Bale

Sport: Soccer
Country: Wales
Salary: $25.5 million
Endorsements: $9.5 million
Facebook likes: 26.1 million
Twitter followers: 8.2 million

No. 10 Kobe Bryant

Sport: Basketball
Country: United States
Salary: $25.0 million
Endorsements: $26.0 million
Facebook likes: 21.3 million
Twitter followers: 9.4 million

No. 9 Rafael Nadal

Sport: Tennis
Country: Spain
Salary: $4.5 million
Endorsements: $28.0 million
Facebook likes: 14.7 million
Twitter followers: 9.4 million

No. 8 James Rodriguez

Sport: Soccer
Country: Colombia
Salary: $21.4 million
Endorsements: $4.5 million
Facebook likes: 30.1 million
Twitter followers: 9.7 million

No. 7 Tiger Woods

Sport: Golf
Country: United States
Salary: $1.0 million
Endorsements: $50.0 million
Facebook likes: 3.1 million
Twitter followers: 5.8 million

No. 6 Kevin Durant

Sport: Basketball
Country: United States
Salary: $20.2 million
Endorsements: $35.0 million
Facebook likes: 10.2 million
Twitter followers: 13.6 million

No. 5 Roger Federer

Sport: Tennis
Country: Switzerland
Salary: $9.0 million
Endorsements: $58.0 million
Facebook likes: 14.5 million
Twitter followers: 4.8 million

No. 4 Neymar Jr.

Sport: Soccer
Country: Brazil
Salary: $14.7 million
Endorsements: $17.0 million
Facebook likes: 56.6 million
Twitter followers: 21.9 million

No. 3 Lionel Messi

Sport: Soccer
Country: Argentina
Salary: $48.5 million
Endorsements: $22.0 million
Facebook likes: (does not have a Facebook page)
Twitter followers: (does not have a Twitter page)

No. 2 LeBron James

Sport: Basketball
Country: United States
Salary: $23.0 million
Endorsements: $44.0 million
Facebook likes: 22.5 million
Twitter followers: 31.2 million

No. 1 Cristiano Ronaldo

Sport: Soccer
Country: Portugal
Salary: $52.2 million
Endorsements: $27.0 million
Facebook likes: 111.4 million
Twitter followers: 42.1 million

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