What's the story?
Cristiano Ronaldo received the highly revered MARCA Leyenda or simply MARCA Legend award in a ceremony organized by the Spanish sports media outlet yesterday.
Interestingly, Barcelona captain Lionel Messi was the last footballer to be recognized with this honor in 2009 and so far only few elite football players have received the award, the elite list includes - Lionel Messi, Raul Gonzalez, Diego Maradona, Pele and Paolo Maldini.
In case you didn't know...
MARCA Legend award is given to sportsmen in recognition for their incredible achievements in their career and to some of the most success athletes in their fields.
With his nomination this year, the 34-year-old superstar joins an elite list of athletes to have received this prize, following on from the likes of Rafa Nadal, Michael Jordan, Michael Phelps, Marc Marquez, Pau Gasol, Miguel Indurain, Usain Bolt and Roger Federer.
Ronaldo arguably enjoyed the best spell of his career with his former club Real Madrid. Not only did he score goals at an incredible rate, his trophy haul with Los Blancos also remains commendable.
In the nine seasons he spent with the record European champions, he netted 451 times in 438 competitive appearances across all competitions, also becoming their all-time top scorer in the league with 312 goals.
His incredible trophy haul at the Madrid based club include - four Champions League crowns, three Club World Cups and UEFA Super Cups apiece, two LaLiga titles, a pair of Copa del Rey and two Spanish Super Cups.
This list of honors is completed with four Ballons d'Or, three Golden Shoe awards, two FIFA The Best awards, whilst he was named UEFA Best Player in Europe three times and landed the Pichichi crown on three occasions.
The heart of the matter...
At a ceremony, where he was joined by Real Madrid president Fiorentino Perez, an emotional Ronaldo said that he was honored to be awarded the accolade. He said:
"It is a Spanish trophy and I am very honored [to receive it]. Thank you to everyone who has helped me achieve it. It is a matter of pride to me. And I hope to return to Madrid soon."
After receiving the award, he was interviewed by a group of five children, each of whom were wearing one of the shirts he's played in during his career.
In the course of the Q & A hr revealed that winning EURO 2016 with Portugal was the single most important thing in his career. He said:
"All trophies are important, but it possibly is because it is special."
"It's not the same [as the others]; when you win something for your country and you know it is very difficult [to do]... it's the most important thing in my career."
The five-time Ballon d'Or winner had a great debut season with Juventus, winning the Serie A and the Supercoppa Italiana, while also lifting the inaugural UEFA Nations League with Portugal.
Now, having earned a lifetime award with MARCA, can he bag a record sixth Ballon d'Or this December? We'll have to wait and see.Published 30 Jul 2019, 10:12 IST