An easy way to start a heated discussion is to ask the question “who was the greatest footballer of all time?”

Pele, Maradona, Cruyff, Beckenbauer, Ronaldo, Messi – all will have their own supporters.

But ask the question “who was the world’s greatest sportsman?” and you are into a new field of controversy.

Who is the greatest sportsperson in world sport today?

I think the first thing you must consider is that when you try to identify the world’s top sportsperson, they must be involved in the top sports.

Football, athletics, tennis, boxing and golf can justifiably be considered worldwide sports but baseball, cricket, basketball and rugby are minority sports in a global sense.

It would be hard to argue against Mohammed Ali being the greatest sportsman of his era or Pele and Maradona being the greatest in other times.

Michael Johnson, the Olympic gold medalist, whose world records lasted for over 20 years, must be a candidate while, until his recent personal troubles, Tiger Woods was an unbelievably successful golfer.

Tennis has some strong candidates. The Williams sisters have dominated women’s tennis for the past decade.

In my opinion, though, the greatest sportsmen today, are both tennis players – Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer.

They combine their fantastic skills with an off court humility and are wonderful role models for young people.

The chances are they will play against each other this weekend in the final of the US Open at Flushing Meadow in New York.

What a match that could be!

Any other suggestions for the world’s greatest sportsman?

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