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Valentino Rossi rated as one of the best world athletes of the decade

The mainstream media includes the Italian in a list alongside the likes of Usain Bolt, Roger Federer and Michael Phelps.

As is the norm at the end of the year, and also the decade, the world media has offered its view on the top athletes of the last ten years. With seven premier class World Championship titles since his entry into the category back in 2000, Rossi has secured his spot at the pinnacle of the sport and is now considered one of the best sport stars of the past decade.

Assessment methods vary; in some cases the athletes themselves vote and set the rankings, while in others it is the readers of prominent publications who decide who has the honour of being considered the best.

In Italy, Rossi tops the rankings. Over 40% of Gazzetta dello Sport readers consider the 30 year-old to be the best, well ahead of Swiss tennis star Roger Federer (13.8%) and Olympic and World 100m and 200m champion Usain Bolt (8.8%), with Michael Schumacher (7.4%) and the Italian national football team (6.3%) also featuring in the poll.

There was a similar trend in Tuttosport, with Rossi taking a sizeable 48.6% of the vote, and Bolt 12.4% and Federer 11%.

In Spain, daily El Mundo registered nearly 30,000 votes from readers with Rossi taking second place with 17% of the share, behind Federer (27.1%) and ahead of Phelps (12.2%).

El Pais asked the athletes themselves to choose the top stars of 2009, with Rossi coming second with 16 votes, behind Bolt who amassed 47. FC Barcelona forward Lionel Messi came third with seven votes, while Rossi beat Spanish stars such as NBA basketball player for the Memphis Grizzlies, Marc Gasol, as well as cyclists Samuel Sanchez, Carlos Sastre and Alejandro Valverde. Rossi also came ahead of Spanish motorcyclists Toni Bou and Marc Coma, and tennis players David Ferrer and Juan Carlos Ferrero.

Journalists of the prestigious French paper L1Equipe also developed a specific method for deciding their selection, in which Rossi placed third behind Bolt and Federer, but ahead of Messi and World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb.

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