World Fame 100: Man United's Ibrahimovic, Rooney, Pogba on list
We asked Ben Alamar, ESPN's director of sports analytics, to figure out the most famous athletes in the world. Using a formula that combines endorsements with social media fan base and Google search popularity, he ranked the globe's most famous athletes in our second annual World Fame 100.
Manchester United landed three players on our list:
No. 26: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Why he's got fame: If you asked the 35-year-old Swede himself, he'd doubtless tell you he should be No. 1 on this list. But then, to be fair, Ibrahimovic's opinion of his own grandeur is probably shared in every city where they've swooned at his brilliance, be it Amsterdam, Turin, Milan, Barcelona, Paris or Manchester. His next stop, if there is one, is up in the air after he suffered a season-ending knee injury while on a one-year contract with Manchester United. -- Ian Chadband
No. 31: Wayne Rooney
Why he's got fame: His star might be dimming rapidly now as the England and Manchester United captain who can't even get in his club or country's starting XI anymore, but nothing can take away from his moment in January 2017 when a beautifully executed free kick broke Bobby Charlton's record as United's all-time leader with his 250th goal for the club. The debate still rages about exactly how good the teenage phenom ever really did become, but Rooney, with his panoply of special goals and never-say-die attitude, is, according to Leo Messi, "the great English player of the generation." -- Ian Chadband
No. 40: Paul Pogba
Why he's got fame: When you're the world's most expensive soccer player, woe betide if you don't deliver. It has been occasionally painful to see the young French midfield dynamo carrying that monstrously heavy £90 million price tag around his shoulders in his difficult first year back at Manchester United since his move from Juventus, because he's so obviously trying so hard. The occasional starbursts of magnificence amid the underperforming at Old Trafford, though, suggest a talent that cannot be subdued for long. -- Ian Chadband
Read more about Ibrahimovic, Rooney and Pogba and see the full ESPN World Fame 100 by clicking here.