38 Most Successful Athletes of the 21st Century

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Source: Clive Rose / Getty Images

6. Cristiano Ronaldo
> Sport: Soccer
> Championships: 4x UEFA Champions league, 5x national league
> Team or country: Manchester United, Real Madrid
> Career length: 2002-present
> Other accomplishments: 5 Ballons d’Or

Cristiano Ronaldo will certainly go down as one of the most prolific goal scorers in soccer history. The Portuguese striker has scored more goals than anyone else in the history of Europe’s top leagues, leading Manchester United and Real Madrid to numerous national and continental championships.

Source: Jason Miller / Getty Images

7. David Ortiz
> Sport: Baseball
> Championships: 3x World Series
> Team or country: Boston Red Sox
> Career length: 1997-2016
> Other accomplishments: 10x All-Star

David Ortiz helped break an 86-year-old curse on the Boston Red Sox and established himself as one of the most beloved athletes in Boston sports history. The powerful slugger won World Series with the Sox in 2004, 2007, and 2013.

Source: Tom Hauck / Allsport / Getty Images

8. Derek Fisher
> Sport: Basketball
> Championships: 5x NBA Championship
> Team or country: Los Angeles Lakers
> Career length: 1996-2014
> Other accomplishments: n/a

Derek Fisher was a significant contributor to all five Los Angeles Lakers championships in the 21st century. He played point guard for the Lakers in 13 of his 18 NBA seasons.

Source: Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images

9. Dwyane Wade
> Sport: Basketball
> Championships: 3x NBA Championship, 1x gold medal
> Team or country: Miami Heat
> Career length: 2003-present
> Other accomplishments: 12x All-Star, 2x All-NBA

Dwyane Wade has cemented his legacy as the greatest player in Miami Heat history by helping the franchise win three championships. Wade is also the Heat’s all-time leader in scoring, minutes played, steals, and assists.

Source: Christian Petersen / Getty Images

10. Evgeni Malkin
> Sport: Hockey
> Championships: 3x Stanley Cup
> Team or country: Pittsburgh Penguins
> Career length: 2006-present
> Other accomplishments: 3x All-Star, 1x Hart Trophy

Though Sidney Crosby gets most of the attention on the Pittsburgh Penguins, Evgeni Malkin is an outstanding player in his own right. Malkin helped the Pens win three Stanley Cups and picked up a Hart Trophy in 2012 as the most valuable player in the NHL.