World Fame 100: India's Top 10 most famous athletes

ESPN World Fame 100: India (2:06)

We asked fans if they could identify the top Indian athletes in the ESPN World Fame top 100. (2:06)

Nine Indian athletes cracked the ESPN Fame 100, which lists the most famous stars in world sport.

The rundown of active sportsmen and women is compiled by judging three criteria: an athlete's social media following, their Google Trend score and the amount of money that they bring in through endorsement deals. For the fourth year running, Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo took the crown as the world's most famous sporting icon.

But who makes it into India's top 10? Here are the results:

1. Virat Kohli, Cricket

Five years ago, even Sachin Tendulkar haters wouldn't have bet that someone would break his record as the fastest batsman to score 10,000 one-day international runs, a feat the legendary cricketer achieved in just 259 innings. Then came Virat Kohli, who on Oct. 24, 2018, crushed his childhood hero's record of 10,000 runs by 54 fewer innings. The solace for Tendulkar fans? The record stays within the Indian team, just as the Little Master hoped.

"There's no shame in being beaten by a genius. Virat Kohli is a freak." -- England captain Michael Vaughan

2. MS Dhoni, Cricket

The sweetest sports videos of 2018 include MS Dhoni and his adorable 4-year-old daughter, Ziva, giving us all the feels. She didn't disappoint on Captain Cool's 37th birthday. Among the images released from his intimate birthday celebration with teammates and family include a video of Ziva singing, "Happy birthday, daddy, you're getting older," which promptly became the most-searched Dhoni video of the year.

"I would go to war with Dhoni by my side.." -- former India coach Gary Kirsten

3. Yuvraj Singh, Cricket

At 37, Yuvraj Singh's best years are behind him, but he still caused a stir at last year's Indian Premier League auctions, the annual event where teams bid for unsigned players. When no team bought him on the first day, Mumbai Indians saw the opportunity for a bargain, snapping up the sixer king for 1 crore rupees (about $140,000) in what the team owner called "the biggest steal in IPL history."

"Every left-hander wants his bat flow to be like that of Yuvraj Singh's. Every batsman copies Yuvi's batting." -- Shikhar Dhawan, Indian batsman

4. Suresh Raina, Cricket

For as long as the Indian Premier League has existed, Suresh Raina has been called Mr. IPL. That's because even when he's in bad form the rest of the year, it's almost a guarantee he will score big runs for the Chennai Super Kings when the IPL season comes around. That's exactly what he did April 28 against archrivals Mumbai Indians, smashing his 33rd IPL 50, scoring seven boundaries and four sixes in the process. Boom.

"I never have issues in handling the fame. I am from a middle-class family. We didn't have a lot of money, so we all learned to respect money and understood its real value." -- Raina

5. Ravichandran Ashwin, Cricket

If there's one good thing that came out of India's poor showing in the test series against England, it was the spellbinding bowling performance by Tamil Nadu super spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. During the first test in Birmingham, Ashwin picked up a memorable seven wickets over the course of the two innings, and although he didn't win the man of the match, the stat quickly became his most discussed moment of 2018..

"Ashwin is currently the best spinner in the world, and his achievements with the ball are a testimony to his greatness." -- Sri Lanka spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan

6. Rohit Sharma, Cricket

It's not surprising that Rohit Sharma smashed his 21st One-day international century on Oct 29. What is surprising is that the day before the match against the West Indies, he was seen playing gully cricket -- a makeshift version of the game using traffic cones and a wooden board -- with a group of boys on the streets of Mumbai. But then again, maybe it was a good warm-up!

"My mission in life is not merely to survive but to thrive; with some passion, some compassion and some style." -- Sharma

7. Harbhajan Singh, Cricket

Imagine if one morning Lionel Messi suddenly moved to Real Madrid. That's what it felt like when Harbhajan Singh walked onto the field in the bright yellow jersey of the Chennai Super Kings last April after playing for fierce rivals Mumbai Indians since 2008. According to Twitter data, it was the league's most talked-about transfer.

"Playing for India has been an honour, and I want to continue doing that. I don't know anything else to do other than cricket. I want to play as long as I can. " -- Singh

8. Sania Mirza, Tennis

Everyone's favourite Indo-Pakistani couple, tennis star Sania Mirza and cricket Shoaib Malik, nearly broke the internet when they announced her pregnancy in April by posting an image of a "Mirza-Malik" baby jersey. The only news that could top that? The baby boy's arrival in October, posted with the hashtag #BabyMirzaMalik. Now we're just waiting to see which he'll pick up: the cricket bat or the tennis racquet ... or both!

"When I wanted to play Wimbledon, they laughed and said, 'What are you talking about? You're from Hyderabad and you're supposed to ... cook. -- Mirza

9. Shikhar Dhawan, Cricket

Indian cricket fans won't forget Shikhar Dhawan's spectacular 210-run opening partnership with Rohit Sharma in September for two reasons: India beat Pakistan by nine wickets and went on to win the Asia Cup; and Dhawan's performance prompted his wife, boxer Ayesha Mukherjee, to blow him a kiss from the sideline -- a rare public display of affection.

"I love cricket, but then I have learnt that one can be in love and still be detached. If I'm dropped from the India team, It will hurt big time, but there is life outside cricket, too. -- Dhawan

10. Irfan Pathan, Cricket

Irfan Pathan was once the brightest prospect in Indian cricket for his free-flowing left-arm seam bowling -- characterised by a sharp out-swinger that made him a nightmare for right-handers -- and fluent strokeplay. Having made his debut as a teenager in a famous Test win in Adelaide in 2003, he starred in India's World Twenty20 title win in 2007, and helped win a thrilling Test in Perth months later. Recently, though, he had been playing under the shadow of his older brother Yusuf, and last played for India in 2012. In 2018, he moved to a new role in domestic cricket, joining Jammu & Kashmir as player-cum-mentor. The 2018-19 season, the first where Pathan didn't represent Baroda, saw J&K manage a middling three wins in nine matches, but Pathan's introduction could see them improve as a team, and his stock rise in potential coaching roles.