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Lionel Messi Beats Cristiano Ronaldo In Top 50 Athletes List

Not surprisingly, at least to his legions of fans worldwide, Lionel Messi has been named No. 1 in SportsPro’s 2020 list of the World’s 50 Most Marketable Athletes, with his rival Cristiano Ronaldo surprisingly, to CR7’s fans, finishing in second spot.

The two lead the a star-studded global field of sporting personalities, ahead of NBA star LeBron James and India cricket captain Virat Kohli, but it’s a bit of a shock to see the Barcelona player placed ahead of his longtime rival at Juventus.

CR7 has often been listed as the world’s most marketable athletem being the planet’s most followed person on Instagram (238 million compared to Messi’s 167 million).

However the erstwhile, incorrigble Messi is the 6th time, and reigning, Ballon d’Or winner and SportsPro’s study factored in considerations such as “social following, content engagement, fanbase growth over time, media value, and the performance of branded versus organic content.”

The argument arises that because Ronaldo is seen to work with a greater number of sponsors and brands than Messi, the Argentine might be perceived as therefore being more valuable to those he does selectively chooses to endorse.

SportsPro admitted it was a “narrow” choice between the pair, who are undoubtedly the two most high-profile sports personalities on the planet. And there can be little argument with their putting the visage of NBA’s hugely popular LeBron James in third, while Kohli – a sporting idol across India – is in fourth.

The top five is rounded out by the highest-placed female athlete: Canadian tennis player Bianca Andreescu, who won the US Open in 2019.

Football players dominate the list with three more in the top 10 alone: Brazil superstar Neymar (sixth), Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah (ninth) and Ronaldo’s teammate at Juventus, Paulo Dybala (10th).

50. Russell Westbrook (Basketball)

49. Mikaela Shiffrin (Skiing)

48. Ashleigh Barty (Tennis)

47. Dorothea Wierer (Biathlon)

46. Katelyn Ohashi (Gymnastics)

45. Katrin Davidsdottir (Crossfit)

44. Giannis Antetokounmpo (Basketball)

43. Zion Williamson (Basketball)

42. Anthony Davis (Basketball)

41. Carissa Moore (Surfing)

40. Bethany Hamilton (Surfing)

39. Dele Alli (Soccer)

38. Kelia Termini (Surfing)

37. Charles Leclerc (Motorsport)

36. Luka Doncic (Basketball)

35. Roger Federer (Tennis)

34. Son Heung-min (Soccer)

33. Naomi Osaka (Tennis)

32. Tyson Fury (Boxing)

31. Anthony Joshua (Boxing)

30. Tom Brady (US Football)

29. Anna Gasser (Snowboarding)

28. Rafael Nadal (Tennis)

27. Sky Brown (Skateboarding)

26. Patrick Mahomes (US Football)

25. Megan Rapinoe (Soccer)

24. Jorge Masvidal (MMA)

23. Virgil van Dijk (Soccer)

22. Dina Asher-Smith (Athletics)

21. Lewis Hamilton (Motorsport)

20. Robert Lewandowski (Soccer)

19. Paul Pogba (Soccer)

18. Coco Gauff (Tennis)

17. Alex Morgan (Soccer)

16. Erling Haaland (Soccer)

15. Kylian Mbappe (Soccer)

14. Simone Biles (Gymnastics)

13. Steph Curry (Basketball)

12. Ryan Garcia (Boxing)

11. Eden Hazard (Soccer)

10. Paulo Dybala (Soccer)

9. Mohamed Salah (Soccer)

8. Rohit Sharma (Cricket)

7. Khabib Nurmagomedov (MMA)

6. Neymar Jr (Soccer)

5. Bianca Andreescu (Tennis)

4. Virat Kohli (Cricket)

3. LeBron James (Baskeball)

2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Soccer)

1. Lionel Messi (Soccer)

Credit: Football Tribe Malaysia