Cape Town - Portuguese and Real Madrid attacker Cristiano Ronaldo topped the ESPN World Fame 100 list for a third straight year, beating out basketball superstar LeBron James and rival Leo Messi.
Click here to see the full list by ESPN
The 33-year-old was named as the most popular athlete in the world based on his social media following, endorsement deals and search score.
Brazil's Neymar who became the world's most expensive footballer after his record-breaking €222 million move to Paris Saint-Germain clinched the fourth spot.
Swiss, Roger Federer the most decorated tennis player in history rounded off the top five on the list ahead of Kevin Durant and Spanish rival Rafael Nadal.
ESPN World Fame 100 top 20:
1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
2. LeBron James (United States of America)
3. Lionel Messi (Argentina)
4. Neymar (Brazil)
5. Roger Federer (Switzerland)
6. Tiger Woods (United States of America)
7. Kevin Durant (United States of America)
8. Rafael Nadal (Spain)
9. Stephan Curry (United States of America)
10. Phil Mickelson (United States of America)
11. Virat Kohli (India)
12. Serena Williams (United States of America)
13. Novak Djokovic (Serbia)
14. Floyd Mayweather (United States of America)
15. Rory McIlory (Northern Ireland)
16. Jordan Spieth (United States of America)
17. Sun Yang (China)
18. Conor McGregor (Ireland)
19. Gareth Bale (Wales)
20. MS Dhoni (India)
99. AB de Villiers (South Africa)CLICK HERE to see full ESPN World Fame 100 list