On Tuesday, ESPN released their second annual “World Fame 100”—a list of athletes considered by the sports-media giant to be the most famous in the world.
The list was produced by Ben Alamar— ESPN’s director of analytics— who “devised a formula that combines endorsements with social media following and internet search popularity” to pick out the 100 most famous athletes in the world.
And it just so happens that the Chicago Fire’s very own Bastian Schweinsteiger made it into the top 100. According to Alamar, the German World Cup winner makes $4.3 million in endorsements each year, and has roughly 21.5 million followers across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. All this was good enough for Alamar to declar Schweinsteiger the 68th most famous athlete in the world.
Here’s Alamar’s explanation for Basti’s fame:
He’s not going to win another World Cup with the Chicago Fire, but he’ll always have Brazil. Germany fans will never forget the sight of “Schweini,” blood running down his face, refusing to give up in the 2014 World Cup final victory against Argentina. That determination — might we even say pigheadedness — defined his illustrious career with Bayern Munich and later Manchester United.
The director of analytics also cites Basti’s not-so-secret admirer, German chancellor Angela Merkel, as a reason for his notoriety. Die Zeit ran a series of fictional love letters between the two in 2012, and the pair shared a friendly hug during the 2014 World Cup trophy presentation.
Being friends with the leader of one of the most powerful countries in the world isn’t too shabby, it seems.
Finally, Alamar includes a quote from Philipp Lahm—ya know, that guy—Schweinsteiger’s long-time teammate with Bayern Munich and Germany, as a reason for Basti’s fame.
“I was always glad when he was on the pitch beside me. You could always count on him,” Lahm said.
Not only can he get the chancellor of Germany to talk about him, but also other famous athletes; this guy really does just glow with popularity.
Mr. 68th-Most-Famous-Athlete is back in action on Sunday as the Fire take on Orlando City.