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What I wanted to do was be myself. Not only has he won all four Grand Slams 12 total and been ranked No. He also is thoughtful, articulate and often funny, known for his impersonations of fellow players -- he once sported a long, blonde wig to mimic Maria Sharapova -- and wearing a Darth Vader mask onto the court.
Djokovic has a restaurant group that offers gluten-free meals, as well as a vegan restaurant in Monaco. He credits his tennis success to going gluten-free, which he wrote about in an enlightening book, "Serve to Win: One of the best batsman in all of cricket seems to be getting better, and was particularly great. Kohli took over India's one-day international captaincy and scored over 2, runs in ODIs.
On top of all that, he's back together with Bollywood star Anushka Sharma. I was fortunate to be part of that process of seeing him grow, and that gives me immense pleasure. Still only 28, McIlroy already has won four majors -- he's a Masters shy of a career Grand Slam -- and spent 95 weeks as the world's top-ranked golfer, the fourth most in history. McIlroy is considered one of the fittest golfers on tour, but he was humbled when joined by Tom Brady and Peyton and Eli Manning while working out at Augusta National a couple of years ago.
Brady walked in at 6: That was my time to leave. One of the reasons I don't spend much time in Ireland or the UK anymore is because of that tabloid culture. I live in Florida now, and I can walk down the street and do whatever I want and nobody cares. You know how much your country loves you when you have millions of heartbroken fans crying, begging you to not step down as the one-day international captain. Just as gracefully as he took on the mantle, he left the limelight after having captained India's national cricket team for ODIs and 72 T20s.
The much-anticipated biopic based on his life, "MS Dhoni: The Untold Story," hit theaters in September and was released in 61 countries. As he promoted the three-hour-plus movie in cities such as Mumbai, New Delhi and New York, fans saw a side of Dhoni nobody has seen before -- chatty, nervous and excited.
Dhoni was played by Sushant Singh Rajput in what became one of the highest-grossing Bollywood films of It is his temperament where he has treated those two imposters -- fame and failure -- in just the same manner.
There is the sheer brutal dominance with which she has exercised her craft in mixed martial arts, of course. But the first American woman to win an Olympic medal in judo elevated herself to the next level of celebrity by her sheer audacity and refreshing candor, talking about her struggles with body image as easily as admitting to assaulting an ex-boyfriend and revealing she had suicidal thoughts after her first UFC loss.
Believe me, there's a lot of celebrities out there that are popular. I meet them all the time. They are not worth your admiration. He might be just 23 years old, but the Texan has a Masters victory, a U.
Open title, a Ryder Cup trophy and a FedEx Cup championship -- and he sat atop the world rankings for 26 weeks. He has nine PGA Tour victories since turning pro in and has finished in the top 25 in roughly 70 percent of his starts. And we mentioned he's only 23, right?
Two days after this April's Masters, Spieth joined Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas and Smylie Kaufman for their now-famous annual spring break vacation to the Bahamas, playing golf in swim trunks, drinking their traditional "boom tower" beverages and documenting it all on social media. Finishing fifth versus finishing 10th doesn't mean much to me. Back in his Milan heyday, the Brazilian was for a moment in time the best player on the planet, and a World Cup winner to boot.
The film of him robbing and outpacing Leo Messi to score a wondrous goal in a international against Argentina reminds us why Real Madrid once broke the world record transfer fee to buy him. Being a well-educated Brazilian soccer idol and the first sportsman to woo 10 million Twitter followers has enabled the devout evangelical Christian to use his fame as an Ambassador Against Hunger for the United Nations' World Food Programme and to pay more than mere lip service to the humanitarian causes dear to him.
He is the standard bearer of the modern game. She's just the greatest women's tennis player in history. Her win at this year's Australian Open gave her 23 career singles Grand Slams, the most of any player in the open era.
Williams has been ranked No. And unlike most English-speaking players, she can address fans in French or Italian when she plays at tournaments in those countries. In April, Williams announced that her first baby was on the way and she won't play again this season.
If she was indeed 20 weeks pregnant, as her Snapchat post indicated at the time, that means she was with child when she won the Australian Open in January. He is the only Japanese player to win an Olympic medal since tennis returned to the games in , taking bronze in At age 27, there's still time for him to become the first Asian Grand Slam men's singles champion.
Nishikori resides in Florida, in part to avoid the fishbowl of being a revered figure back home. Before last year's Japan Open, an estimated 9, fans turned out just to watch him practice.
That's where his focus is, not on money or endorsements. Twelve years ago, Brady was bizarrely pictured snuggling a goat in a GQ photo spread. He and supermodel wife Gisele Bundchen are one of the most celebrated couples in pop culture. If you want gaudy statistics, Brady has those, too, ranking among the NFL's top five in career passes attempted, passes completed, passing yards and touchdown passes.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft recently indicated that Brady, 39, said he would be willing to play six or seven more years -- a terrifying thought for opponents. NFL lags on international playing field. Wales, a country with rugby at its heart, has become besotted with the soccer maestro whose inspirational feet and feats did most to transport the national team to the unlikeliest of semifinal appearances in Euro Bale's flowering as the best British player in the game makes him unquestioned monarch in his home country.
The Welsh capital's airport was even renamed the Cardiff Bale Airport for a day when the team returned home from the Euros. At 27, he has his whole life ahead of him to learn and, above all, make history in this great club. The Siberia-born Sharapova has been one of the best players of her era -- she won Wimbledon at age 17 and went on to complete the career Slam -- and one of the most marketable. The attention she gained in the past year or so, however, has been the negative kind, but it hasn't affected her level of fame.
Despite testing positive in for the banned substance meldonium, which resulted in a month suspension, she is one of just three women in the top 25 of this list. Her candy company, Sugarpova, has become so popular that it's expanding distribution into 7-Eleven and Kroger stores in the United States. Candy might not be great for nutrition, but at least a player can eat a Sugarpova Dark Chocolate with Toasted Coconut bar without worrying about being busted for a PED.
While Wade isn't the same player who could effortlessly slash through defenses and create his own shot under almost any circumstance, he's still an immensely popular impact player at age Back in , Miami-Dade County literally changed its name to Miami-Wade County for a week in hopes of convincing the star guard to not leave the Heat in free agency.
Wade is married to actress Gabrielle Union, and with three NBA rings and 20,plus career points under his belt, he can start writing that Hall of Fame speech. Not bad for a player in his career twilight. Described as looking "exactly like the Notre Dame logo," the Irish fighter is the reigning UFC lightweight champion and former undisputed featherweight champ which he became with a second stoppage of Jose Aldo during the fastest championship victory in UFC history.
He's the UFC's biggest pay-per-view draw and a colorful talker and boaster, which has prompted comparisons to Muhammad Ali. He has that thing that you can't teach people, whatever it is that makes people gravitate toward you. He has that more than any fighter I've ever met. He makes you believe everything he believes. If you asked the year-old Swede himself, he'd doubtless tell you he should be No.
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. When you're Ibra, you can say anything and get away with it.
In Paris, he promised he would stay on at Paris Saint-Germain only "if they replace the Eiffel Tower with a statue of myself," while his latest boast is that he should be the next James Bond.
Colombia's baby-faced star of the World Cup has found it hard to live up to that initial piece of global showstopping in the unforgiving goldfish bowl that is Real Madrid's Bernabeu Stadium. Paraded with grand fanfare after winning the Golden Boot for his six World Cup goals, including the extraordinary chest-and-swivel volley that won him the Puskas Award for best of the year, it's all rather gone downhill with the man who's named after James Bond looking grumpily shaken and stirred by his lack of playing time.
Still, his luminous ability will ensure no lack of suitors if the widely predicted parting comes this summer. He's one of the most protected individuals in Colombia every time he gets back home. That's because his nation's love for him knows no bounds, and the depressing price of this level of fame remains the occasional crazed death threat.
It's only fitting that Harden is the most famous athlete in Houston, the city that gave birth to the legendary bearded blues rock band ZZ Top. Of course, Harden is much more than just a glorious beard. Since being traded to the Rockets in , he has proven himself as a franchise player by averaging But you have to admit, the beard is glorious indeed.
It's easy to forget Harden wasn't even a starter during his three seasons playing third fiddle to Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Rockets, however, saw much more than a sixth man when they acquired him in Harden has earned All-Star status in each of his five seasons in Houston, and he has played more minutes than any other NBA player over the past three seasons. I enjoy how hard it is. I think that makes you tougher.
That makes you who you are. The Arsenal sorcerer was named player of the Copa America Centenario after his three goals helped Chile win the tournament for the second consecutive year. On top of being one of the world's best players, he is appreciated as the guy who was too poor ever to own a pair of boots as a kid but now gets huge joy by coming home to Tocopilla to help fund new pitches and hand out equipment and footballs to youngsters.
And they love him for it. On his day, Özil is a portrait of the artist as a footballer. In a sport that is currently being dominated by the attacking prowess of the inverted winger, the man with the melancholy eyes is the closest thing we've found to a spiritual heir to Juan Roman Riquelme. Özil's arsenal is that of guile, subtlety, technique and preternatural vision and timing -- no wonder, in the superkinetic EPL, he's underappreciated.
When Özil went from Real Madrid to Arsenal in in the most expensive transfer ever for a German player, it didn't go over well with Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo: He was the player who best knew my moves in front of goal. I'm angry about Özil leaving. 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 first 11 anymore, but nothing can take away from his moment in January when a beautifully executed free kick broke Bobby Charlton's record as United's all-time leader with his th 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. Future generations of fans can judge his greatness or otherwise when a special section of Manchester United's museum is devoted to his career, including a video loop of every one of his club goals.
I would absolutely urge all those youngsters in the squad to watch and learn off him; they are extremely lucky to be on the same training pitch as him.
The latest-blooming member of tennis' Big Four, Murray saw his fame in the UK soar when he won Wimbledon in to become the first British man to win the London event in 77 years. The Scotsman has notched two other Grand Slam titles, including a second at Wimbledon, plus two Olympic gold medals. And he unseated Novak Djokovic as the world's top-ranked player last year.
While Murray has 3. Murray received knighthood at the end of -- reluctantly, because he didn't want it to distract from his performance -- becoming the first active tennis player to be so honored.
That is not what I need, especially this week. He was 19 when he went home to Chicago in as the No. I've got more than enough money saved. If I stopped playing basketball now, I'll be all right. I want to win. I want to be happy and feel at peace with myself wherever I'm at. He played for Duke, was the No. Born in Australia to American parents, Irving was considered for the Aussie Olympic team he has dual citizenship but decided to stick with the U. Irving, 25, has written, directed and starred in a number of Pepsi's longer "Uncle Drew" commercials, and there are plans for him to play the character in a full-length movie.
I make mistakes all the time. But I'm not afraid to make those mistakes or be flawed. So, that fear is all gone. I'm not afraid of almost any situation or anything that I'm in. The do-it-all Thunder point guard literally did it all this season after Kevin Durant's departure to Golden State. The year-old's star is still very much on the rise after he led the NBA in scoring and became the first player to average a triple-double for an entire season since Oscar Robertson did it 55 years ago.
Westbrook's jersey is the No. Look for Russ to move up on this list in Westbrook is known for his eclectic fashion sense, and he used it to his advantage before this year's All-Star Game. When asked several times about playing alongside Durant and other Warriors players, he instead answered each time by discussing sartorial subjects. I was talking to some basketball people the other night, and I said, 'I don't think any of these guards can beat him in a one-on-one game.
Salute the new poster boy of European soccer, the best player at the European Championships on home soil in France. The livewire Atletico Madrid striker has become the game's most wanted with giants such as Manchester United reportedly on his trail, waving fat checkbooks. David Beckham is his hero, and with his boyish good looks, cheeky persona and a talent that outstrips his idol's, perhaps we've found the Gallic "Golden Balls. If your gift is sublime, you can get away with the ridiculous.
When a TV camera caught Griezmann's shorts having slipped down slightly during a match, it was noted with some amusement that he was wearing SpongeBob SquarePants boxers beneath. He explained with a grin that it was just his matchday superstition.
He's out of this world. He's gone from being a big signing for Atletico Madrid, who people doubted at first, to becoming an icon at the club. Hail the Fred Astaire of world soccer. Those mesmeric feet might not be tripping the light fantastic at Barcelona's Nou Camp as regularly as they once did as damnable age pursues him, but the shy genius can still exert a magical hold over us all.
It was fitting that a man described by Sir Alex Ferguson as "a perfect player," but one who might have lived in the shadow of Leo Messi in the Barca dream factory, will always have his World Cup final-winning goal for Spain in Johannesburg as the exclamation mark to his beautiful career. When your talent and humility is as regal as Iniesta's, then how fitting it was that Queen Sofia of Spain herself should present him in January with her own award to mark his special contribution to the national sporting life.
For someone who has courted as much controversy as Uruguay's hero, whose bad behavior has included episodes of biting -- thrice -- kicking, punching, racial abuse and cheating down the years, it's amazing how becalmed his life seems to have become at Camp Nou as one of a now legendary striking trident with Neymar and Leo Messi. How dull that all anyone wants to talk about now are his goals, goals, goals as the Golden Shoe winner in as Europe's leading marksman.
When people ask if you could be the best striker in the world, it's very grounding to know that back in Salto they wonder if you're even the best in your little hometown. Edinson Cavani, the brilliant Paris Saint-Germain striker, also hails from there. Or at least it was in the incidents I was involved in. With the UFC records for longest championship reign nearly seven years , longest win streak 16 fights from to and most consecutive title defenses 10 as a middleweight , "The Spider" is without question one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time.
The year-old Brazilian also has seen his share of controversy, failing multiple drug tests in and being slapped with a one-year suspension. Add in his flamboyant remarks about achieving the impossible and Silva is one of the most entertaining personalities the sport has seen.
When not trying inflict damage with his fists and feet, Silva enjoys using less dangerous weapons. He has documented multiple paintball excursions on social media, and when he couldn't train while recovering from a broken leg, he said he played lots of "Call of Duty.
When you're the world's most expensive soccer player, woe betide if you don't deliver. The occasional starbursts of magnificence amid the underperforming at Old Trafford, though, suggest a talent that cannot be subdued for long.
Being able to launch his own clothing line -- the Adidas x Pogba Collection -- was very lucrative, thank you. But the timing of the launch -- shortly after Pogba had endured a bit of a stinker in the big match against Liverpool -- was all a bit nickel and dime. It's not Paul's fault he gets 10 times the money some players did in the past. It is not his fault some pundits need every coin to survive, while Paul is a multimillionaire. I think Paul deserves respect. Why Pogba is heir apparent to Ronaldo, Messi.
Ever since turning pro at 19, Anthony has been one of the most consistent and exciting scorers in the NBA, averaging more than 20 points per game in each of his 14 pro seasons. Melo has benefited from the publicity of playing in America's largest media market for the past six years, but he also has weathered years of the dysfunction that now epitomizes the Knicks franchise.
Although Anthony played just one college season, the basketball facility at Syracuse University is named in his honor. Whether I make the shot or miss it, I would rather put that pressure on me. Wawrinka, who has been ranked as high as No. And he gained additional attention while winning the French Open thanks to his pajama-like plaid shorts that created quite the social-media sensation.
Wawrinka has an interesting tattoo on his left forearm, a quote from playwright Samuel Beckett that reads, "Ever tried. Johnson grabbed the No. That is a much happier narrative than the allegations of drug use, heavy drinking and other indiscretions that have dogged him in past years. He's engaged to model and Wayne Gretzky's daughter Paulina Gretzky, and the couple has one child and another on the way.
Johnson has won at least one tournament in each of his 10 seasons as a professional. He captured his first major championship at the U. Open, winning by three strokes despite a controversial one-stroke penalty. Seemingly unloved by his club's fans and unwanted by his country, this is the enigma who consumes and obsesses France. An uncommonly gifted striker with Lyon and Real Madrid, his career has been disfigured by off-field scandal, the latest being a charge of allegedly blackmailing a France teammate over a sex tape.
Benzema, who has Algerian roots, claimed his exclusion from France's Euro squad was racially influenced, which raised poisonous responses from far-right politicians. And amid all this negativity and controversy? Well, he has not stopped what he does best -- scoring goals. Two hundred and fifty-plus and counting.
They reckon Benzema is as good in the air when he's indulging in a passion for piloting helicopters as he is on the soccer field with his swooping headers. Some people say I don't love the French national team. If that were the case, I would have said so directly to the coach, because I'm a big boy. When an year-old Brazilian kid from Fluminense FC was signed by Real Madrid a decade ago, no one seriously expected Marcelo to one day surpass the achievements of the fullback he'd been hired to replace, compatriot and club legend Roberto Carlos.
Yet with tireless verve and excellence down that left flank, always accompanied by a big smile underneath big hair, this now-inspiring figure for Madridistas might have done just that. Understated he might be in Real's flashy world, but he has played a major role in three La Liga and two Champions League wins. Few soccer players love a tattoo quite as much as Marcelo.
One of hundreds that festoon him honors his late grandfather Pedro, who always found the money to help fund his dream of playing when growing up in poverty in Rio. Technically, he is better than me -- I was more power and punch. I hope Marcelo is not better than me, but he is doing very well! Did we dare suggest last year that El Tigre had lost his roar and become a bit of a toothless tabby?
Well, the great news is that Falcao has this season at Monaco rewound the clock, after his miserable interlude at Manchester United and Chelsea, to remind us of when he was one of the world's deadliest strikers before the ACL injury that made him miss the World Cup. In particular, the goal he chipped against Manchester City in this season's Champions League was simply exquisite. Colombia has its idol back. Prince Albert of Monaco was apparently none too impressed when Falcao left the club during his first spell in the principality, but, like everyone else, he's now hopelessly besotted once again.
I love him as a person. There's no ceiling to his ambition. He is a player who makes the difference. If he's playing well, you have a chance of winning. Newton is a quarterback in the body of a linebacker, the likes of which pro football hasn't seen before.