Pele says that Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo reminds him of fellow all-time attacking great Eusebio, who died earlier this year.
Ronaldo, the 29-year-old Ballon d'Or holder, was named as one of Time's 100 most influential people on the planet — one of only five athletes to be named in the prestigious list — alongside the likes of Pope Francis and political whistle-blower Edward Snowden.
Pele championed Ronaldo for the nomination and said he wished he could have played alongside Ronaldo but teased that, regardless of his fondness for the forward, he still wants Portugal to finish behind Brazil at this summer's World Cup.
"Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the most influential athletes in sports today," he told Time. "I greatly respect his competitive mindset on the field, and it’s no surprise that he is currently considered the best football player in the world.
"I had the opportunity to share his joy onstage at this year’s Ballon d'Or ceremony in Zurich. Cristiano never ceases to give his best for his national team. He reminds me a bit of my late friend and Portuguese legend Eusebio. They have the same elegance and creativity.
"Back when I played, I would have loved having a teammate like Cristiano to play with up front. I would like to encourage him to keep up the hard work and to continue to fuel the passion for the sport among today’s youth. Also, I wish him the best this summer at the World Cup in Brazil. But if Portugal get to the final against Brazil, I’m sorry, Cristiano, but I want Brazil to win."
Ronaldo has scored 45 goals in 42 appearances for Real Madrid in 2013-14.
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