LeBron, Cristiano and Bolt are the three fittest athletes in the world... but who's the surprise Englishman on Sports Illustrated's list?

US magazine set out to rank the world's best male athletes

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The Independent Online

Sports Illustrated have named NBA superstar LeBron James as the world's best athlete, narrowly beating Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo.

The US magazine has named their top 50 male athletes in the 'Fittest 50' list and the Miami Heat star has beaten competition to be named the best.

Jamaican sprint king gets a rare bronze medal, and there are one or two surprising names in the list that is, unsurprisingly, dominated by American athletes.

"For the professional male athlete it is the very foundation of success. But even among the pros, some athletes stand head and sculpted shoulders above the rest," read the SI blurb.

Cristiano Ronaldo is second

The list was put together by SI writers and editors using a 40-point system based on four criteria; strength, speed, endurance and agility.

James scored a perfect 10 in all categories, 1.5 points ahead of Ronaldo, who was perfect in three categories but not in strength, where he scored 8.5.

Volt was a further 2.0 points behind Ronaldo, with boxer Floyd Mayweather and Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant rounding out the top five.

Another two NFL players, Calvin Johnson and Adrian Peterson were in the top 10, joining Serge Ibaka, UFC fighter Jon Jones and swimmer Michael Phelps.

Just one Englishman makes the list and you'd be hard pressed to guess who it is.

Usain Bolt was named third on SI's list

Manchester City right-back Micah Richards makes the list as the 23rd best athlete in the world, scoring a 7 for speed, 6.5 for strength, 6.5 for agility and 8 for endurance.

Followers of the Premier League might be surprised to see Richards on the list considering his injury record in the last two seasons, during which he has played just nine league matches because of injury and lack of form.

Richards is one of seven footballers on the list and, bar Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos, they too raise eyebrows.

Hulk, who has battled criticism that he is overweight, and Luis Nani are borderline inclusions, while 35-year-old striker Diego Forlan and Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard could be considered bonkers.

Micah Richards is the only Englishman on the list

Chris Froome is the only other Brit on the list, at No 45, despite his victory in one of the hardest races in the world last year.

Andy Murray is a surprise exclusion, especially as Roger Federer - always a player who used craft and skill over speed and strength - is at No 31.