It’s not hard to pick ten famous athletes from Latin America. The hard part is picking the best from the bunch. This list of athletes stands out no matter what continent you’re counting them from.
- Pele– The G.O.A.T. of the game of futbol. For those who’ve been sleeping under a rock for the last forty years, G.O.A.T. means “The Greatest of All Time.” This Brazilian sensation won four World Cup titles during his amazing career, and Brazil even declared him a national treasure. He is probably the most famous Latin American athlete ever.
- Sammy Sosa– The Dominican slugger is most known for his home run competition with Marc McGwire in pursuit of Roger Maris’s single season Home Run record. In an age of questionable pro baseball ethics, he was later found to have corked his bat on occasion and was repeatedly accused of using anabolic steroids. And then there’s the weird thing with his face…
- Manu Ginobili– A star for the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs and the Argentinean National team, Ginobili is one of the few players to ever hold a Euroleague championship, an NBA title and an Olympic gold medal. Along with players such as Dirk Novitski and Yao Ming, he is responsible for changing the perception that only American athletes can play high-level basketball.
- Ronaldinho– Another Brazilian export, this futbol star is one of the most famous athletes from Latin America by far. His soccer exploits in international play are notorious and his Nike commercials have been seen by millions worldwide on Youtube. In his youth, he once scored all 23 goals in a 23-0 rout.
- Felix Trinidad– The powerful Puerto Rican is one of that country’s greatest fighters ever. In his career, he held the WBA, WBC, and IBF Welter Weight Champion belts. He had to fight fellow Latin American fighters, Oscar De La Hoya and Fernando Vargas along the way but “Trini” was up to the task.
- Kaka– This famous Brazilian footballer has won The FIFA World Player of the Year award and set a world record contract to play for Real Madrid to the price of 89 million dollars. He graces video game covers, holds modeling contracts and serves as a United Nations food ambassador.
- Fernando Valenzuela– This chubby Mexican pitcher, whose eyes would roll up in his head every time he pitched the ball, became a sensation for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He’s the only baseball player to win the Cy Young, Silver Slugger and Rookie of the Year award in the same season.
- Marta– This female Brazilian athlete has been compared to fellow Brazilian soccer legend, Pele. And she agrees. The four-time FIFA Woman’s World Player of the Year winner is electrifying to watch and terrifying to her opponents. Never let it be said that girls can’t play ball.
- Jose Canseco– He became famous for being a home run king. But, he is equally known as a snitch. Born in Cuba, he quickly became known for his enormous hitting power. He was also adept at stealing bases. His physical gifts came to light when he wrote a tell-all book, revealing not just his own steroid use, but that of several other pro baseball players. Snitch.
- Chi Chi Rodriguez– This Puerto Rican dynamo has been called the most powerful golfer, pound-for-pound, of his time. Usually the term pound-for-pound is reserved for boxers, but Chi Chi’s on-the-green antics were as renowned as his play. Let it be known that long before Tiger Woods, there were brown people tearing it up on the golf course.
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