Famous Hispanic athletes celebrated during Hispanic Heritage Month

Each year between September 15 to October 15 people observe and celebrate the unique histories, contributions and cultural influences of Hispanics.

Hispanic people are those who hail or whose ancestors hail from South America, Central America, Mexico, Spain, and areas of the Caribbean.

Hispanics contribute to the world in various ways, including in professional athletics. Some of the world’s most recognizable Hispanics are sports figures who continue to amaze sports fans with their athletic accomplishments on the soccer pitch, the baseball diamond and other high profile arenas within professional sports.

• Lionel Messi: Arguably the most recognizable athlete in the world, Lionel Messi was born in Argentina but moved to Barcelona, Spain, as a teenager. Messi is considered the greatest active soccer player in the world, and many across the globe consider him the greatest player of all time. The youngest player to ever score a goal for Barcelona when he netted his first in 2005, the now-30-year-old Messi has guided his team to eight La Liga titles and four UEFA Champions League titles.

• Rafael Nadal: Among the most accomplished professional tennis players in the history of the sport, Spain’s Rafael Nadal is often referred to as “The King of Clay,” a reference to his record-setting 10 French Open titles. Upon winning the French Open title in 2017, Nadal became the first male to win a single Grand Slam tournament 10 times. In addition to his dominance at the French Open, Nadal has twice won at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open and counts a 2009 win at the Australian Open among his 15 Grand Slam singles titles.

• Albert Pujols: Three-time National League Most Valuable Player and 10-time All-Star, Albert Pujols is one of the most feared hitters of his generation, with more than 600 homeruns and a lifetime .307 batting average to his credit. Born in the Dominican Republic, which has produced dozens of baseball’s brightest stars, Pujols moved to the United States with his family when he was 16. Now in his sixth season with the Los Angeles Angels, Pujols won two World Series in 11 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals.

• Lorena Ochoa: The top-ranked female golfer in the world from mid-2007 until her retirement more than three years later, Lorena Ochoa is considered one of the greatest female golfers of all time. Despite retiring at just 28, Ochoa, a native of Guadalajara, Mexico, will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in September of 2017. Over the course of her relatively brief career, Ochoa notched 27 LPGA Tour victories, including two major championships.

Author: Rachel Howell

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