Stars of the decade: 14. Manny Pacquiao

Boxing deity Manny Pacquiao is behind today's window as Eurosport-Yahoo! counts down the days to Christmas with a special advent calendar; a ranking of the decade's greatest sporting stars.

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..Each day we open the next window on the calendar to reveal a sporting great from the last 10 years, and on December 24 we name the star at the top of the Christmas tree! Scroll to the bottom of the page to find out how it works.


Sporting ability: 8/10 - Has shown tremendous versatility and talent, but needs to beat Floyd Mayweather Jr to secure his place in the pantheon of greats.

Sporting success: 9/10 - Seven world titles in seven different weight divisions, and holder of the unofficial best-pound-for-pound fighter tag.

Popularity: 9/10 - He is almost certainly going to be President of the Philippines, so, yes, it's fair to say he's popular.

Marketability: 6/10 - Boxing's hottest property, but held back by the simple fact of not being American.

X-Factor: 4/10 - Has been boxing professionally since 1995, but only achieved global superstar status in 2008 when he thumped Oscar De La Hoya.

TOTAL: 36/50 - In an era lacking charismatic stars, and when the best fighters seem to favour defence, the thrillingly explosive Pacquiao has galloped to his sport's rescue. His fight against Mayweather will be one of the sporting events of 2010.

If he were on an advent calendar, he would be: A bottle of port. Only comes out once or twice a year and you pay over the odds for it, but it packs a heck of a punch.

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Each athlete is given a mark out of 10 in five categories, to give a total out of 50:

Sporting ability - Pure and simple, how good are they at what they do?

Sporting success - Show us your medals. A true star knows the way to silverware.

Popularity - Are they liked? By their peers? By their compatriots? By the world?

Marketability - The money question. Are you as likely to see them on a billboard as on a sporting field?

X-Factor - Intangibles. Have they got 'it'? This category rewards any special attributes, and takes points athletes who have not been around for the whole decade.

Tie-breaker: It really is a popularity contest. If two or more athletes get the same score, the edge goes to whoever has a higher popularity rating.


1 - It's subjective. There are marks out of 10, but it's not scientific, it's opinion. You probably won't agree, and that's a good thing. Really, it is.

2 - It's about stardom, not talent. Fame matters, as does popularity. Tabloid headlines, advertising endorsements and multi-million pound contracts are all good. Sporting prowess is only part of the picture.

3 - We are judging the years 2000-2009 - anything before does not count. Longevity is important; stars who have been around the whole decade have a better chance of coming high up the list.

4 - It's global, but from a British perspective. We have tried to pick stars with widespread - hopefully worldwide - appeal. Athletes with huge popularity in their home country, like Sachin Tendulkar, also get credit. But if we've missed a legendary table tennis/bandy/sepak takraw player, it's because we haven't heard of him/her.

5 - Diversity matters. It may be true that 15 of the 24 biggest stars of the last decade are footballers, but what fun would that list be? Eurosport-Yahoo! is a broad church, and we have strived to reward the biggest names from as many sports as possible. Within reason.

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