Cristiano Ronaldo is the reigning Ballon d'Or winner and one of the most recognizable faces in international sports. His Real Madrid is fresh off capturing the Copa del Rey and is alive in the quest for Spain's league title and a UEFA Champions League crown. Ronaldo will guide Portugal at the World Cup, where he could forever cement his status as a legend should the Portuguese get out of the Group of Death and make a run to the World Cup title.
With that all going for him, he 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.
U.S. men's national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann is also part of the list -- but as a writer, not a member. He wrote the piece for Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Pele wrote the tribute piece to Ronaldo for Time (the entire list can be seen here), in which he likened him to late Portugal great Eusebio. As part of his piece, Pele writes:
Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the most influential athletes in sports today. I greatly respect his competitive mind-set 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 triumph 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).