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  • Cristiano Ronaldo Claims Top Spot Once Again
  • Virat Kohli awarded 13th spot in the list, followed by Mahendra Singh Dhoni at #15, Yuvraj Singh at #90 and Suresh Raina at #95
  • Global multimedia initiative includes extensive editorial package with athlete features
  • ESPN The Magazine’s World Fame 100 Issue hits U.S. newsstands June 2 with #4 Roger Federer on Cover

Mumbai, May 31, 2017: Today the ESPN World Fame 100 returns with a new list that catalogs the most famous athletes around the world. Debuting last year, World Fame 100 is ESPN’s ranking of the 100 most famous active athletes in the world (retired athletes are not considered for the list). The ranking is based on a formula devised by ESPN director of sports analytics Ben Alamar, which combines endorsements, social media reach and other data to create a comparative ranking system.

The ESPN World Fame 100 has been released today on ESPN digital editions in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia,Mexico, Venezuela, and U.K., as well as in the U.S. on and ESPN Deportes, in Africa via KweseESPN, in India and China via Tencent’s QQ Sports. Content from the global multimedia project produced in Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin Chinese. In addition to multiple global feature stories, local editorial teams around the world are also producing features on key athletes of relevance and each of the 100 athletes has a short summary addressing why the athlete is famous, a wild-card category that references his/her fame, a quote from or about the athlete and other key information.

The Top 10 athletes in the ESPN World Fame 100 are:

  1. Cristiano Ronaldo
  2. LeBron James
  3. Lionel Messi
  4. Roger Federer
  5. Phil Mickelson
  6. Neymar
  7. Usain Bolt
  8. Kevin Durant
  9. Rafael Nadal
  10. Tiger Woods

Four Indian cricketers rank among the ESPN World Fame 100, including: Virat Kohli (13), Mahendra Singh Dhoni (15), Yuvraj Singh (90) and Suresh Raina (95).

Virat Kohli, one of the best batsman in all of cricket seems to be getting better, and 2016 was particularly great. Kohli took over India’s one-day international captaincy, scored over 2,500 runs and led India to a 23-match winning streak. In February, the 28-year-old Kohli joined the likes of Usain Bolt, Rickie Fowler and Thierry Henry as a Puma endorser. His eight-year deal with the shoe company is worth more than 100 crore rupees (approximately $15 million US), the largest ever for an Indian athlete.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni left the limelight after having captained India’s national cricket team for 199 ODIs and 72 T20s with equal grace as he took on the mantle. You know how much your country loves you when you have millions of heartbroken fans crying, begging you to not step down as the one-day international captain.

Among the extensive ESPN World Fame 100 editorial package are features about global superstars like tennis legend Roger Federer, the world’s fastest man Usain Bolt, NBA star Kevin Durant, MMA star Conor McGregor, F1 champion Lewis Hamilton, and footballers Paul Pogba, Didier Drogba, Falcao and Chicharito. Additionally, the project includes stories from around the world that examine athletes whose fame may be more concentrated in some parts of the world – from Yuvraj Singh in India to Arturo Vidal in Chile – and those whose fame as individual sportsmen and women may surprise – like Jason Day and Eugenie Bouchard. 

As part of the overall package ESPN The Magazine will dedicate an entire issue to World Fame 100, including features on the following athletes, slated to hit newsstands in the U.S. Friday, June 2:

  • Yuvraj Singh: After beating a rare form of lung cancer, cricketer Yuvraj Singh has given fans someone to look up to when things get tough. And boy has he remade his life, as a successful cricketer, businessman, philanthropist and new husband to actress Hazel Keech. In 2015, he launched the YouWeCan foundation to fight cancer. 
  • Roger Federer: As the most revered men’s tennis player in the world, and a living, competing legend, Federer’s stroke has inspired awe, and his matches have been glorified. Yet, little is known about the extremely private player’s life outside the game. Senior writer Kurt Streeter sits with the 18-time Grand Slam champion and explores his views on fame and his fans.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo: At 32, Ronaldo is better than ever and leading Real Madrid to a historic season, thanks to some unexpected advice from his unlikely manager, Zinedine Zidane. In his second season as Real Madrid manager, Zidane, a footballing legend of both great fame and infamy (the world watched his head butt in the 2006 World Cup Final), has led the club to its first La Liga title in 5 years and a second-straight Champions League Final, all with a squad of superstars well under his control. As ESPNFC’s Sid Lowe discovers, it takes a legend to coach legends.
  • Usain Bolt: The Undefeated’s Jesse Washington tells the story of how the fastest human alive is in no hurry to walk away from the spotlight.
  • Kevin Durant:  For his entire basketball life, Kevin Durant had been a gym rat, every thought and fiber devoted to the game he loved, which brought him fame and fortune beyond his wildest dreams. But after a career-threatening foot injury in 2015, Durant realized for the first time that he wanted his to be more about basketball. This awakening, in many ways, informed his decision to leave Oklahoma City for Oakland. And no matter how often Durant insists his move to Oakland was not merely to win a championship, there’s a cadre of naysayers who don’t believe him. The narrative is clear: if the Warriors win a title, Durant will have accomplished what everyone expects. If they lose, he is the guy who still can’t get it done. Columnist Jackie MacMullan tells the story of that awakening, what he thinks his broader calling is, and how basketball fits into the future.
  • Ryan Lochte: U.S. swimming sensation Ryan Lochte has been trying to rehab his image—not just from the infamous gas station incident at the 2016 Rio Olympics, but the wider perception that he’s, well, a glorified bro. But just how real is the makeover? Columnist Allison Glock takes a deeper look into Lochte’s unpreparedness for fame and all that it entails, and his new perspective on life as he and his fiancé are expecting their first child together.
  • Lewis Hamilton: When it comes to global fame, there are very few athletes who can catch Lewis Hamilton. Part of that is his day job, flying around a racetrack at 200 mph, while another is his jet-setting, hard-partying ways. Some criticize his globetrotting lifestyle—spending Easter with Kim and Kanye, bowling with Lindsey Vonn, and welcoming Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner and Justin Bieber into the pits—but as senior writer Wayne Drehs discovers, Hamilton doesn’t care. The bottom line: he wins.  
  • Fame FAQ: We ask Caroline Wozniacki, Ezekiel Elliott, Simone Biles, Jimmie Johnson and J.J. Watt what it’s like to be famous –whether it’s using their name to get into the best parties and restaurants, crazy fan encounters or running their own social media.

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