Famous sportsmen have an influence on the world as well as inspire the people. Thousands of years ago and even now if anyone wants to know which thing connects the world in a better way and spreads happiness, the answer would be sports. Sports are the activities which always stand top of the list to fetch good results for people of any age. It not just makes someone’s body healthy but also makes it more flexible and responsive. However, when sports become your profession and a source of income then it is something ice on the cake. The arrival of the 20th century brought sports in limelight and people started to choose it as a full-time career. Then there rose some outstanding players in different sports around the globe. They inspired millions and became synonyms for their respective games as well as earned an immense amount of money.
Here we are going to take a bow for famous sportsmen and their tremendous efforts to games. Let’s take a look at the world’s top 14 sportsmen and a concise look at their career.
1. Zinedine Zidane
Every nation on the planet plays football or loves it. There are a total of 211 countries that officially play football. Therefore, we can imagine the height of the standard of the game. From that sky of epitome there is a star Zinedine Yazid Zidane, popularly known as ZIZU, is a French former professional footballer who served as an attacking midfielder. He was born on 23 June 1972 in Marseille, France. As a professional soccer player, Zidane played for Cannes, Bordeaux, Juventus, and Real Madrid. He is regarded as one of the elite players in France and still is one of the famous sportsmen.
Zidane was famous for his control over the ball. He earned many awards as an individual, named three times for FIFA player of the year in 1998,2000 and 2003. Moreover, he had won Ballon D’ Or in 1998. He was voted Lingue 1 player of the year in 1996, Series A Footballer of the Year in 2001 and La Liga Best Foreign Player in 2002. The list does not end here, he also helped his team to win the FIFA World cup in 1998. His two goals in the final made his team champion and him France’s national star. He joined Real Madrid for a world-record fee at the time of 77.5 million euros in 2001 held the record for eight years.
After retiring as a player he started his coaching career at Real Madrid Castilla. His outclass performance continued here and won the Best FIFA Men’s Coach award in 2017 award. He resigned in May 2018 but soon returned to Real Madrid as a manager in March 2019. Zinedine holds the net worth of $70 million dollars.
2. Imran Khan
If you want to know the first heartthrob and a superstar sportsman of Pakistan. Imran Khan is the name. He stands tall among the famous sportsmen of the world. Khan was born in Lahore 5 October 1952. He basically belongs to a landlord Pashtun family of Mianwali. His early education was at Aitchison College in Lahore. However, he is the graduate of Keble College, Oxford. His cricketing career started at the age of 13 while made his debut for the national team of Pakistan at the age of 18 in 1971 against England.
Khan also served as the team captain between 1982 to 1992. He retired as the most successful player in Pakistan. In total, he made 3,807 runs and took 362 wickets in test cricket. Khan is the only captain who uplifted his team from bottom to win 1992 cricket World Cup. He coached some domestic teams in Pakistan, however, his goal was bigger than this. In 2010 he got his name included in ICC Cricket Hall of Fame. Khan also is an active member of charity activities. He constructed Pakistan’s first cancer hospital after raising funds. Because of this, he received the honorary fellowship by the Royal College Of Physicians in 2012.
Moreover, Khan founded his political party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (Pakistan Movement for Justice)and became the party’s national leader. Khan’s political struggle continues for 22 years. However, in the General Election of 2018, Khan outshined the ruling party by winning the largest number of seats. As a result, he became the prime minister of Pakistan. Khan still holds his massive fan following and net worth of 15 million USD. Moreover, he donates all his wealth to Shaukat Khanum Cancer hospital.
3. Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova, a Russian former tennis player, was born 19 April 1987 and is one of the most famous tennis players of all time. Although she played under the banner of Russia with the Women’s Tennis Association, WTA, she has been living in the USA permanently since 1994. Sharapova participated on the WTA tour from 2001 to 2020. She had been ranked world number 1 by the WTA five times for a total of 21 weeks. Moreover, she holds a career grand slam Olympic medal. Sharapova achieved such fame in her game that everyone dreams to achieve. Maria was a tough competitor in the court for her fellows.
Moreover, she had won five grand slams, 36 titles in total and also three doubles titles. Maria also appeared in a number of advertisements for top brands like Nike and Canon. She is one of the highest-paid female tennis players of all time. In 2018 she launched a new program to guide women entrepreneurs. Though she had seen many ups and downs in his career yet she is the most popular player of the game. Sharapova’s net worth $135 million.
4. Jehangir Khan
Sir Jehangir Khan, a conquer, Unsqushable, made to win and one of the most famous sportsmen not only in Pakistan but in the world of Squash. He is the greatest player in the history of Squash. As Pakistan was not such a developed country back in the 20th century so many people did not even know the name of the game. So, for their ease, they used to say “the game which Jehangir Khan plays”. It is right to say that he became the recognition of the game.
Jehangir was born on 10 December 1963 in Karachi, Pakistan into a Pashtun family. In his early life, he was not a healthy child, the doctor advised him not to take part in any kind of sport. But his father Roshan who was his first coach encouraged him to play squash. Then his brother Torsam coached him but after his sudden demise, Jehangir’s cousin Rehmat Khan coached him most of his career. His illness denied him to play in the world championship in Australia 1979. Therefore, he decided to play the Amature Individual championship and became the youngest winner at the age of 15.
During his career, Khan won the World Open six times and the British Open a record ten times from 1981 to 1986. In 1982 he astounded the world by winning the International Squash Players Association (ISPA) without losing a single point. From 1981 to 1986, he remained undefeated and won 555 consecutive matches which is a record by any top-level professional player. Jehangir’s unbeaten score finally off in the final of the 1986 World Open in France when he lost to Ross Norman of New Zealand the oldest rival of Jehangir. He retired from the Professional Squash Association (PSA) World tour in 1993 after helping Pakistan win the world team Championship in Karachi.
Later, Jehangir remained Chairman of the professional Squash Association in 1990. Moreover, he remained at various managerial post of squash association. Jehangir Khan was awarded an honorary PhD degree by London Metropolitan University for his contributions to the sport. Without any doubt, he is a living legend.
5. The Rock
Jack of all trades and undoubtedly master of all is Dwayne Douglas Johnson. He is another one of the famous sportsmen in the world. People mostly know him by his ring name “The Rock ”. Everyone once in life thinks about making a body like Dwayne. But alas! The Rock is only one in the world. He was born in May 1972 in America. Johnson is an American former professional wrestler, an actor, producer, businessman and a football player too. I think he could be the best singer as well what you guys think?
Moreover, before starting his acting career he was one of the most famous sportsmen in the world of wrestling. Dwayne wanted to become a professional footballer but it didn’t go well. Therefore, he started training as a professional wrestler. Dwayne secured a contract with the WWF in 1996. In 1998 he won his first WWF Championship. Dwayne considered being one of the best professional wrestlers. He has won several championships. Moreover, he is a two-time international Champion, a ten-time World champion and a five-time tag team champion.
The Rock was one of the permanent members of WWEs most-watched episodes on television. However, Dwayne had his first acting role in “The Mummy Returns” in 2001. In 2004, he left WWE to continue his acting career. Although he participated as a part-time performer he said goodbye to wrestling permanently in 2019. Ohh there is a long list of his movies but his appearance in “The Fast Saga” thrashed him into Hollywood. With over $10.5 billion, he is one of the highest-grossing box office stars of all time.
6. Tiger woods
Tiger Woods, an American professional golfer is one of the most famous sportsmen in the world of Golf. The American star born in December 1975. It is right to say that he is the Jehangir Khan of Golf. Eldrick Tont Tiger Woods holds numerous records in the game and ultimately is the true face of Golf. He has brilliant junior, college and amateur golf career. However, he started his professional career in 1996 at the age of 20. After that, in just a year, he became the number one ranked Golfer of the world in June 1997. The first decade of the 20th century belongs to Tiger. He remained the top-ranked golfer in the world from August 1999 to September 2004. And again grabbed the position in June 2005 till October 2010. During the course, he won 13 major championships of Golf.
Moreover, Woods holds the record of retaining number one spot for the most consecutive weeks of in history. In May 2019, woods was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the fourth golfer to receive the honour. Tiger’s total career earnings are $1.5 billion.
7. Michael Phelps
Popularly known as “flying fish”, and “The Baltimore Bullet” Michael Fred Phelps born June 30, 1985. He is an American professional swimmer and one of the most famous sportsmen in the world. Phelps holds the all-time record for most Olympic gold medals. He has won 23 gold medals in Olympics alone. Moreover, Phelps holds the world record in the men’s 400- meter individual medley as well as the former long course world record in the 200-meter freestyle, 100-meter butterfly, 200-meter butterfly, and 200-meter individual medley. In the major international long course, he has won 82 medals of which 65 were gold, 14 silver and 3 bronze medals. Moreover, he has won many championships including the Olympics, the World Championship and the Pan Pacific Championship.
Phelps’s superb performances made him win World Swimmer of the Year Award eight times. Moreover, he has won American Swimmer of the Year Award eleven times while FINA Swimmer of the Year Award twice. After the 2008 Olympics, Phelps stepped in charity and founded the Michael Phelps Foundation. The objective of the foundation is to focus on growing the game of swimming and promote a healthier lifestyle in youngsters. Phelps made his first retirement after the 2012 Olympics but made a comeback in April 2014 and was the flag bearer of his team at 2016 Summer Olympics Nations Parade. However, finally, Phelps retired from competitive swimming on August 12, 2016. He is the ultimate ideal of a child who adopts swimming as a professional player. His net worth is $60 million.
8. Drazen Petrovic
Croatian national star and professional basketball player Drazen Petrovic was born on 22 October 1964. He initially got success and fame by playing basketball professionally in Europe in the 80s era. However, he later joined the National Basketball Association shortly called NBA in 1989. Petrovic career spanning on two silver medals and one bronze in Olympic basketball, a gold and a bronze in the FIBA Worlds Cup, a gold and a Bronze in the FIBA Eurobasket, and two Euro Leagues titles.
Drazen was a member of two national teams, Yugoslavia and Croatia. He secured four Euro scars and named twice Mr Europa. Also, he was honoured by the Golden Badge award for best athlete of Yugoslavia in 1985. During his short life, he had gained more than his competitors. However, the man left the world in a shock when he died of a car accident at the young age of 28. His fans still did not come out from the grief of his death. In 2013 by FIBA Eurobasket he was voted as the best player in basketball.
9. Dan Carter
Carter is a New Zealand’s national star as he plays rugby for its national team. Dan Carter was born on the 5th March 1982 in Southbridge, New Zealand. He is one of the most famous sportsmen in the world of rugby. In test match rugby he is number one by scoring highest points in it. Moreover, many experts considered him the best player of the fly-half. In 2005, 2012 and 2015 he was named as the International Rugby Board Player of the Year. Carter had won three Super Rugby titles with the Crusaders and nine Tri-nations Rugby Championships with all blocks.
Carter is one of the 20 players who have won multiple Rugby World Cups. However, Carter was injured during the 2011 World cup but was the top player of not only his team but in the World Cup. He was a man of the match in the 2015 Rugby World Cup Final against Australi by kicking four penalties, a drop goal and four conversions. Dan is an inspirational figure for the youngsters. The estimated net worth of Carter in 2020 is $7 million.
10. Alexander Ovechkin
You guys may be familiar with “Ovi”, “The Great Eight”, and “Alexander The Great”, all belong to the Great Alexander Ovechkin, the famous sportsman from Russia. He was born on 17 September 1985 and became a star Russian professional ice hockey player in no time. Ovechkin was the captain of Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League in short NHL. Before entering the league, Ovi played for Dynamic Moscow of the Russian Superleague for four seasons from 2001 to 2005. Moreover, he joined them again for the season 2012-2013 NHL lockout. Alexander has also played for Capitals during 2005-06 season. Being rookie of the year, he won the Calder Memorial Trophy by scoring 52 goals and 54 assists to lead all rookies with 106 points. Hence, he finished at third overall in league scoring.
Undoubtedly, he is considered as the most inspiring ice hockey player of all time. His award list includes Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy, Art Ross Trophy, Hart Memorial Trophy, Lester B and Pearson Award. Also, he has won the Ted Lindsay Award for consecutive three years. He is considered one of the most famous sportsmen and greatest goal scorers of all time. Overall Ovi has represented Russia in three Olympics and eleven World Championships. Out of those he helped Russia to win World Championships thrice. Consistent performance of Ovi forced Capitals to sign a 13-year contract extension worth $124 million in 2008. This contract, which averages $9.5 million per year, was the richest in NHL history.
11. Ma Long
Ma Long “The lord of Table Tennis” was born 20 March 1988 in Anshan, Liaoning, China. Long is a Chinese professional table tennis player with tremendous career. He holds the record of staying in the number 1 position for a total of 64 months, the biggest record of any male player in history. Till date, he is an Olympic gold medalist as well as World champion. He has won 5 straight ITTF World Tour tournaments in a row, including a streak of 35 sets, and a record of 28 ITTF World Tour titles.
Ma Long also remained the captain of the Chinese National Table Tennis Men’s Team till 2014. He is the first male player who has won every singles title like the Olympics, World Championships and World Cup. All these achievements proved him as one of the famous sportsmen in the table tennis world could ever have. His winning streak earned him around $2 million as prize money in 2012. He is one of the richest Table Tennis players in the world. Moreover, his estimated net worth was $20 million in 2019.
12. Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali “The Greatest” boxing star ever, how could this list is even possible without him. The most famous sportsman of the 20th century. People who do not like boxing even love and adore Muhammad. He was born on 17th January 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky, USA. He started boxing at the age of 12 and won his first gold medal at the age of 18 in the 1960s summer Olympics in the lightweight category. Ali embraced Islam and took the name of Muhammad Ali. He won the heavyweight world championship by stunning the world at the age of 22 in 1964.
Ali was against the war of Vietnam and refused to be drafted into the military. As a result, he was arrested and found guilty and stripped of his boxing titles. Moreover, it took four years of his peak career performance as an athlete. Ali has joint records of beating 21 boxers for the world heavyweight title and winning 14 unified titles bouts stod for 35 years. His fight with George Foreman known as The Rumble in the Jungle which has been called arguably the greatest sporting event of the 20th century. Moreover, this bout holds a record of the most-watched live broadcast of any match.
Ali also enjoyed artistic touch in himself. He got attention as a musician and earned two nominees for Grammy awards. Ali retired in 1984 and focused on charity and religious activities. In 1984, he publicly announced that he suffered from Parkinson’s syndrome, a boxing-related injury. Hence, Ali could not survive and died on June 3, 2016, because of this disease. Moreover, the world lost the best sportsman of the era.
13. Usain Bolt
The World Fastest ever man ”Usain Bolt” was born on 21 August 1986 in Jamaica. He is one of the most famous sportsmen in the 21st century. Because of his performance and speed, he earned the title of “The Lightning Bolt”. He holds the world record in 100 metres, 200 metres, and 400 metres relay. For his outstanding performance and the passion towards the game, he is undoubtedly the greatest sprinter of all time.
In 2008 Beijing Olympics he gained Worldwide fame after making two world records. He is the only person who owns both records in the history of the athletics. Bolt remained unbeatable in the Olympics of 2008,2012 and 2016 by winning 100 m and 200 m relay. Moreover, he holds the record of World Champion by winning it elevens time. In 2009 he improved his record by 9.69 seconds with 9.58 seconds in the 100 metres race.
Undoubtedly, no one can beat him on the track.
14. Nadia Comaneci
The person who made the gymnastic a popular game is one and only “The Butterfly” Comaneci. She was born on November 12, 1961, in Onesti, Romania. Nadia is one of the most famous sportswomen as a professional gymnast. She won the national championship at the age of nine. Moreover, Nadia was the youngest gymnast who scored a perfect score of 10.0 in 1976 at the age of 14. Her record shines with the five gold medals and overall nine Olympic medals. Also, she won four times World Artistic Gymnastics Championship medals. Undoubtedly, she is one of the best and most famous sports personality of the 20th century.
Moreover, Nadia rightly deserved the credit of making gymnastics a popular sport. In view of her performances, she has been considered as one of the best gymnasts of all time. She was breathtaking in the court and performed difficult tricks with such ease that people could not refrain to praise her.
Moreover, Nadia migrated to America in 1989 and now she enjoys dual citizenships of Romania and America. Now, She along with her partner Bart Conner is running a gymnast school. Once Nadia’s mother said in an interview that she was so energetic and difficult to hold as a child. That’s why she decided to enrol her in gymnastic classes. And this accidental step of her mother made him great Nadia. So all the mothers out there with super-naughty kids got the idea.
Well, after going through the article, you have got some information about the career and achievements of famous sportsmen. Professional sportsmen are also now the celebrities of the world. Moreover, such famous sportsmen also inspired millions of their fans who want to become like them.
To know more about such famous celebrities of the world click here.