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The 50 Greatest Sportsmen Of The 21st Century Have Been Revealed

The 50 Greatest Sportsmen Of The 21st Century Have Been Revealed

Every athlete on this list has achieved some form of greatness.

Daniel Marland

Daniel Marland

The greatest sportsmen of the 21st century have been named and swimmer Michael Phelps has come out on top.

Spanish publication Marca decided to rank the defining athletes of the last 20 years and it is hard to argue with Phelps topping the list.

The American is one of the most decorated Olympians of all time with 28 medals overall and 13 individual gold medals.


On the football front, the highest placed man is Lionel Messi in seventh while longtime rival Cristiano Ronaldo is in tenth.

Check out the entire top 50 below.

50. Sebastian Loeb (Rally Car)

49. Conor McGregor (MMA)

48. Alejandro Valverde (Cycling)

47. Dirk Nowitzki (Basketball)

46. Fernando Alonso (Formula One)

45. David Rudisha (Athletics)

44. Fabian Cancellara (Cycling)

43. Barry Bonds (Baseball)

42. Daniel Dias (Adapted Swimming)

41. Bradley Wiggins (Cycling)

40. Alistair Brownlee (Triathlon)


39. Stephane Peterhansel (Rally Car)

38. Ian Thorpe (Swimming)

37. Andres Iniesta (Football)

36. Ricardinho (Futsal)

35. Vincenzo Nibali (Cycling)

34. Hicham El Guerrouj (Athletics)

33. Sebastian Vettal (Formula One)

32. Shaquille O'Neal (Basketball)

31. Kelly Slater (Surfing)

30. Floyd Mayweather (Boxing)


29. Alberto Contador (Cycling)

28. Tim Duncan (Basketball)

27. Kenenisa Bekele (Athletics)

26. Teddy Riner (Judo)

25. Zinedine Zidane (Football)

24. Nikola Karabatic (Handball)

23. Kohei Uchimura (Artistic Gymnastics)

22. Ronaldinho (Football)

21. Marcel Hirscher (Skiing)

20. Kilian Jornet (Mountain Running)


19. Ronaldo Nazario (Football)

18. Tom Brady (American Football)

17. Chris Froome (Cycling)

16. Manny Pacquiao (Boxing)

15. Lebron James (Basketball)

14. Eliud Kipchoge (Athletics)

13. Michael Schumacher (Formula One)

12. Marc Marquez (Motorcycling)

11. Novak Djokovic (Tennis)

10. Cristiano Ronaldo (Football)


9. Valentino Rossi (Motorcycling)

8. Lewis Hamilton (Formula One)

7. Lionel Messi (Football)

6. Tiger Woods (Golf)

5. Kobe Bryant (Basketball)

4. Rafael Nadal (Tennis)

3. Roger Federer (Tennis)

2. Usain Bolt (Athletics)

1. Michael Phelps (Swimming)

Just two boxers make the list and Manny Pacquiao manages to rank 12 places higher than Floyd Mayweather.

The duo clashed in 2015 with Mayweather coming out on top in a contest dubbed 'Fight of the Century'.

But the victory isn't enough for 'Money' to edge ahead of the Filipino.

Conor McGregor is the only MMA fighter to make the list after his meteoric rise in the 2010's.


'The Notorious' recently announced his retirement from the sport and is arguably one of the biggest box office draws in UFC history.

He is also the first-ever two-division champion, holding the featherweight and lightweight belt simultaneously in 2016.

Who do you think is the greatest athlete of this century?

Let us know in the comments below.

Featured Image Credit: PA Images

Topics: Football, Lionel Messi, Michael Phelps, swimming, UFC, MMA, Cristiano Ronaldo