Cristiano Ronaldo, the reigning Ballon d’Or winner and one of the most recognisable faces in international sports, has been selected as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World.
Ronaldo, 29, is one of five athletes to make the list, joining the NBA’s Jason Collins, NFL’s Richard Sherman, tennis player Serena Williams and 17-year-old female golf phenom, Lydia Ko.
Writing the tribute piece to Ronaldo for Time, Pele likened him to late Portugal great, Eusebio.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the most influential athletes in sports today,” he wrote.
“I greatly respect his competitive mindset on the field, and it’s no surprise that he is currently considered the best soccer player in the world.”
Ronaldo, who returned from a three-week injury spell to start in Real Madrid’s 1-0 win over Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal on Wednesday, has 45 goals in all competitions this season. That total includes 14 in the Champions League, which is tied for the most in a single European Cup competition with Lionel Messi (2011-12) and Jose Altafini (1962-63).