The question that arises first and foremost is who or what is a legend. It may be a person who has earned the respect of his/her peers/followers over a considerable period of time. It can also be someone who has achieved a lot in a short span of time and has attained a demi-god status as a result of it. Keeping in mind the incongruent views that pop out while listing down legendary sports personalities, I would perhaps use my discretion to add my two cents to the already existing debate. Be it the much-anticipated football World Cup or the highly competitive Wimbledon tournament, we make our tv sets our best friends. If given an opportunity, many of us would go to any length to grab the coveted ticket for a Cricket World Cup final or even for a UEFA Champions League final. Considering the wide gamut of sporting activities that take place across the world, it would be extremely difficult to list down just 10 of them. Nevertheless, after much consideration of a wide range of parameters, 10 of the most iconic and legendary sports personalities are about to be presented to you. They have represented their respective nations/clubs in either individual or team-based sports. Generations have remembered their unfathomable contribution to world sports and will continue to do so. So here I present top 10 legendary sports personalities in the world.
1. Roger Federer
If you are a Djokovic or a Raphael Nadal fan, you may come up with reasons why Federer can never be given the top slot. Keeping aside groupism and favouritism for some time, it won’t be unfair to say that no other player in the history of tennis has retained the no.1 position for 237 consecutive weeks. With a total of 17 grand slam single titles, he is still ruling the roost. Like it has been mentioned before, legends are made of sterner stuff than usual. Hence, this old warrior continues to give the newer ones a run for their money.
2. Sachin Tendulkar
The Master Blaster of world cricket bowed out of the arena in November 2013. Nevertheless, the legacy left behind by a cricketing career spanning over 24 years can never be forgotten. Sachin holds the record for scoring the highest number of runs in international matches and it stands at 34357 runs. You are bound to find him topping most of the record lists in Tests and ODIs. His career saw many ups and downs, with critics questioning his potentials time and again. He surpassed all such talk and walked into the sunset of his glorious career with his head held high.
3. Muhammad Ali
This legendary boxer deserves some bit of credit for making boxing a sport recognized all over the world. He was crowned “Sportsman of the Century” by Sports Illustrated and “Sports personality of the Year” by the BBC. He has been engaged in historic duels in a career spanning over 14 years. He won his first world championship title in the year 1964 and his career has been dabbled by controversies even post-retirement. Despite his image as a polarizing entity, he has managed to have and flaunt unorthodox views on issues even beyond the boxing ring. He has staged successful comebacks even after being written off by experts on many occasions.
4. Lionel Messi
He may have missed out on the Ballon d’Or for the year 2013 to arch rival Christiano Ronaldo but Messi’s name will surely go down in world football’s history as one cracker of an attacking player. He is arguably the best footballer in the world today with a total of 5 Ballon d’Or(s) to his credit and all of them in succession. Be it FIFA World Player of the year or UEFA best player in Europe award, Messi has been there and done it all. He is often compared to Argentine legend Diego Maradona and analysts predict that he would even surpass his mentor Maradona in years to come. This Barcelona man has a bright future awaiting him.
5. Sir Alex Ferguson
Fergie, as he is fondly called by Manchester United followers, has had a successful stint with the club for around 26 long years. He has been one of the longest serving coaches in the history of the game soccer and lead United to a number of illustrious victories under his watchful eyes. This 72-year old Scottish genius may not have been in action on the arena like others on this list but has managed to be a maverick from behind the scenes. Under him United won 38 trophies, including 2 UEFA Champions League titles and 13 Premier League titles.