We are almost through group play in the World Cup, and some of the world’s greatest athletes are on the global stage. This allows many Americans to see players such as Kaka and David Villa make athletic moves they’ve never seen on a football field that they’re not quite used to. CTS sizes up these soccer studs with the rest of the current greatest athletes in the world in our latest top 10 countdown.
10. Albert Pujols
The best baseball player in the world is in the middle of another possible MVP season as he has 15 HR, 50 RBI, and is batting over .300 for the 10th consecutive season. Pujols’ athleticism is displayed away from the batter's box as well, as he was a Gold Glove award winner in 2006 and stole 16 bases last season.
9. Cristiano Ronaldo
This two-footed star is known for his speed and dribbling, which consists of Iverson-like crossovers and multiple step-overs. Ronaldo is one of the fastest footballers in the world, but can stop on a dime and score goals from outside the box.
8. Alexander Ovechkin
Sidney Crosby may have the Cup and the gold, but nobody in hockey has the speed and goal scoring capability of Alexander Ovechkin. Anyone with that kind of speed who can score goals from his back while sliding across the ice belongs on this list.
7. Larry Fitzgerald
The new freak of football. Fitzgerald is the embodiment of everything you want in a wide receiver. The 6'3", 217 pound Fitzgerald is a sub 4.5 40 guy with a vertical leap around 42 inches. His instinct for the ball makes him a constant home run threat, and this led to 1,100 yards and 13 TD’s in 2009.
6. Michael Phelps
Two years after a Herculean effort of eight gold medals at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, I’d say Michael Phelps belongs on this list.
5. Manny Pacquiao
The number one pound-for-pound boxer in the world, Pacquiao has shown he can beat anybody at any weight. Pacquiao just recently became the world Welterweight champion last November, giving him titles in seven different weight classes.
Next up for Manny Pacquiao: Floyd Mayweather Jr. (Cross Your Fingers).
4. Rafael Nadal
Nadal won his fifth French Open title just three days after turning 24. Rafa’s quickness across the clay frustrated the heck out of all his opponents as he breezed through the tournament without dropping a set.
Next up for the world’s No. 1 ranked player: Wimbledon.
The last time a healthy Nadal was at the All England Club, he defeated Roger Federer in the championship in the greatest tennis match ever played.
3. LeBron James
If Larry Fitzgerald is considered a freak specimen, what would you call King James? The 6'8", 260+ pound James dazzles his fans every night with soaring dunks and his now famous “Chase-Down” block.
Although his recent postseason performance keeps him from being higher up on the list, LeBron may be as dominant of a player in the paint as a young Shaq, and that’s saying something for the person who carries the ball up the floor in the fourth quarter. Kobe's still the man in the NBA, but LeBron is the better athlete.
2. Lionel Messi
Speed, quickness, flash, pizazz, this kid has it all. The soon-to-be 23-year-old Messi is undoubtedly the best soccer player in the world and is the main reason Argentina is one of the favorites to win the World Cup. The 2009 FIFA World Player of the Year is considered the next Maradona and was given the nickname “atomic flea” because of his quickness and athleticism.
1. Usain Bolt
The fastest man who ever lived. Bolt shattered his own world record of 9.69 in the 100 meters, running a 9.58 at the world championships last August. Bolt still believes he can run a sub 9.5 race, and who are we to doubt him?