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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

World Fame 100: Neymar among seven Brazil players on list

We asked Ben Alamar, ESPN's director of sports analytics, to figure out the most famous athletes in the world. Using a formula that combines endorsements with social media fan base and Google search popularity, he ranked the globe's most famous athletes in our second annual World Fame 100.

Brazil landed seven players on our list:

No. 6: Neymar

Why he's got fame: The bewilderingly brilliant Brazilian keeps wooing us with tales of the wholly improbable. Last year, it was to deliver the dream finale to Brazil's Olympics with the glorious free kick and winning shootout penalty against Germany to earn gold. This year, it was inspiring the greatest comeback in the game's annals for Barcelona against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League with an individual tour de force that Liverpool great Steven Gerrard hailed as one of the greatest he'd ever seen. And he's still on course to take over from Messi as the world's finest. -- Ian Chadband

No. 18: Kaka

Why he's got fame: 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 2006 international against Argentina reminds us why Real Madrid once broke the world record transfer fee to buy him. He can still play a bit, even if these days it's in the less-frenetic service of Orlando City, where he's rewarded as the highest-paid performer in MLS at $7.167 million a year. -- Ian Chadband

No. 45: Marcelo

Why he's got fame: When an 18-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. -- Ian Chadband

No. 53: David Luiz

Why he's got fame: The world's 13 biggest soccer transfers have involved creative attackers. The 14th? Well, the frizzy-haired Brazilian, who went to Paris Saint-Germain from Chelsea for £50 million and back again for another £38 million, has always been a very different sort of defender, a careering, daring talent whose risk-taking has your heart engulfing your mouth. He often has looked like an accident waiting to happen, and sometimes it really does. Yet now Luiz seems to have grown into the stoic, dependable stalwart behind the Blues' march toward another Premier League title. -- Ian Chadband

No. 57: Dani Alves

Why he's got fame: In the storied Brazilian tradition of Carlos Alberto and Cafu, Alves is the greatest right-back of his generation. He trails only Paolo Maldini's haul of major European trophies (Champions League, Europa League and Super Cup), having claimed nine to the Italian icon's 10. He has more assists for Leo Messi than anyone else in Barcelona history. -- Dotun Akintoye

No. 76: Thiago Silva

Why he's got fame: The most talented, skillful, imperious central defender of his era -- and with all due respect to the likes of Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique and Leonardo Bonuccci, it's not even close. When Qatar Sports Investments bought Paris Saint-Germain in 2011, the new ownership group made Silva one of its first targets in its bid for European prominence. There simply is no other defender in the world who is that valuable. -- Dotun Akintoye

No. 96: Gabriel Jesus

Why he's got fame: Last year, no less a soccer seer than Pep Guardiola personally got on the phone to convince the then-teenager to join him at Manchester City. He won the Bola de Ouro, given to the best player in Brazil, captured the Olympic gold on home soil, helped form a devastating attacking trident for the rejuvenated Selecao along with Neymar and Philippe Coutinho and led Palmeiras to a championship in the Brazilian top flight. All of this before he turned 20. -- Dotun Akintoye

Read more about Neymar, Kaka, Marcelo, Luiz, Alves, Silva and Jesus and see the full ESPN World Fame 100 by clicking here.


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