For as long as there have been professional sports, there have been iconic sportspeople in the world.
Figures like Penelope Heyns, Desiree Ellis, Bongiwe Msomi, and Natalie du Toit have kept the South African flag flying high in various sport codes.
A list of the most loved sportspeople in the world was recently released and renowned 800m title holder and runner Caster Semenya is the most searched athlete in South Africa for male and female athletes respectively.
Researchers at SportsShoes.com said Caster was the most searched for athlete in the country according to annual Google data they have analysed this year.
Caster although she has been struggling with form recently and facing an Olympic Games ban, she has been searched approximately 328,400 times on the internet showed the research.
Some of the most famous sportspeople in world including 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 109 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 the 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 a 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 the second highest of all time.
Perhaps surprisingly, Serena’s sister Venus did not feature, despite her also being widely regarded as one of tennis’s all-time greats.
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