Ronaldo comes to the gala event of the ruling body FIFA in Zurich's opera house as Premier League, European Champions League and Club World Cup winner.
In addition, he has already been elected European footballer of the Year. The players to lift that honour in the past three years - Ronaldinho, Fabio Cannavaro and Kaka - have also gone on to win the FIFA award.
Brazil and AC Milan midfielder Kaka is on the five-player shortlist again. The others are Barcelona's Argentine star Lionel Messi and the Spanish Euro 2008 winners Xavi (Barcelona) and Fernando Torres (Liverpool).
The dazzling Messi won Olympic gold with Argentina while Kaka came up empty-handed last season. The Spanish Euro-title was considered an overall team effort rather than due to the class of Xavi and Torres, even though Xavi was named man of the tournament.
In addition, Frenchman Zinedine Zidane is the only World Footballer from a Euro-title winning team in that year (2000) since the award was introduced in 1991. No Dane (1992), German (1996) and Greek (2004) won the FIFA award.
The bigger success could give Ronaldo the edge in the vote carried out among national team coaches and captains, following in the footsteps of Luis Figo who is Portugal's only World Player, in 2001.
Ronaldo crashed his Ferrari last week, but the 23-year-old has further matured on and off the pitch. He scored 42 goals last season as United claimed the Premier League and Champions League titles.
This success, plus the recent Club World Cup trophy, should more than counterbalance Portugal's quarter-final exit at Euro 2008.
If Ronaldo (or Torres) wins it will also further highlight the growing role of the Premier League in world football as he would be the first England-based player to win the award.
So far all World Footballers - from Inter Milan's German Lothar Matthaeus in the inaugural vote 1991 to Kaka in 2007 - have played for Spanish or Italian clubs