New Delhi, June 2: Virat Kohli, India's numero uno batsman and Test skipper, has been put under top ten global sports fame list assembled by ESPN.
India's 'run machine' Kohli was at No. 8 in the ESPN World Fame 100 rankings, which is topped by Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, who plays for Real Madrid.
Team India's limited overs' captain MS Dhoni, who has had a forgettable IPL season, is only the second Indian and cricketer to get an entry in the top 20. The only skipper in the cricket history to have won all three ICC tournaments (World Cup 2011, T20 World Cup 2007 & Champions Trophy 2013) has been placed at number 13.
Kohli and Dhoni are only cricketers in the list that is otherwise dominated by basketball and football players. Both these Indian cricket stars were placed ahead of sprinter Usian Bolt and No. Tennis star Novak Djokovic.
Tennis star Sania Mirza is the third Indian sportsperson to have found a place in the list, at number 41.
The rankings for current sportspersons were based on a formula devised by ESPN's director of sports analytics, Ben Alamar. It combined a sports person's salary and endorsements with social media following and Google search popularity.
Kohli has over 39 million followers on Facebook and Twitter and has pipped MS Dhoni in terms of brand endorsements.
American basketball star LeBron James ranks second in the list followed by footballers Lionel Messi and Neymar, who both play for FC Barcelona. Tennis legend Roger Federer completed the top five.
Here are the top 10 most popular athletes according to the ESPN World Fame 100 rankings:
1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal, Real Madrid)
2. LeBron James (USA, Cleveland Cavaliers)
3. Lionel Messi (Argentina, Barcelona)
4. Neymar (Brazil, Barcelona)
5. Roger Federer( Switzerland)
6. Kevin Durant (USA, Oklahoma City)
7. Tiger Woods (USA)
8. Virat Kohli (India)
9. James Rodriguez (Colombia, Real Madrid)
10. Rafael Nadal (Spain)
Read full list here.