Trends & Features



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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