Ronaldo retains top spot as world’s most popular athlete – ESPN

Image: Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring against Atletifco Madrid in La Liga REUTERS/Susana Vera/File Photo

(Reuters) – Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo topped the ESPN World Fame 100 list for a third straight year, pipping American basketball player Lebron James and long-term Argentine rival Lionel Messi.

Real Madrid forward Ronaldo, a five-time Ballon d’Or winner, was named the most popular athlete in the world on the basis of his social media following, endorsement deals and search score.

Three-time NBA champion Lebron James retained his second spot on the list, while Messi came third on the back of his ninth league title with Barcelona.

Brazil’s Neymar, who became the world’s most expensive footballer after his 222 million euros (195 million pounds) move from Barcelona to Paris St Germain last August

Copyright 2018 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.

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