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Rafael Nadal awarded the 'Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Sporting Merit', Spain's highest sporting distinction

Rafael Nadal celebrates after winning his 13th French Open title
Rafael Nadal celebrates after winning his 13th French Open title
Modified 13 Oct 2020, 19:25 IST

‘La Gran Cruz de la Real Orden del Merito Deportivo’ or 'The Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Sporting Merit' is the highest distinction that can be awarded in the field of sport by the Spanish Government. And its latest recipient is a man who has strong claims to be called the greatest Spanish sportsperson ever - Rafael Nadal.

The Spaniard recently won his 13th French Open title at Roland Garros, destroying Novak Djokovic in the final. With the win, Nadal not only extended his already unbelievable record in Paris, but also equaled Roger Federer’s record tally of 20 Grand Slam titles.

At a time when Spain and the entire world are in the throes of a deadly pandemic, Rafael Nadal is seen as a much-needed beacon of hope. His emphatic win over Novak Djokovic brought immense joy to his countrymen, so it is no surprise that the Council of Ministers decided to bestow him with this special award.

We are honored to convey this distinction to Rafael Nadal: Maria Jesus Montero, Vice President of the Council

Rafael Nadal poses with the French Open trophy
Rafael Nadal poses with the French Open trophy

Rafael Nadal through his Academy and Foundation has changed and benefited numerous lives in Spain, and many consider him to be a model citizen.

During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nadal along with Pau Gasol had raised upwards of 14 million euros to help the people affected in his country. Moreover, the Rafa Nadal Foundation recently joined hands with the Food Bank of Mallorca to procure and deliver food to the needy.

Nadal's all-round humanitarian efforts have been complemented by his sporting achievements, as reinforced on Sunday when he routed Novak Djokovic to win his 20th Grand Slam title.

Rafael Nadal equaled Roger Federer
Rafael Nadal equaled Roger Federer's record of 20 Grand Slams

Maria Jesus Montero, the Vice President and Spokesperson for the Council of Ministers, summarized these thoughts while announcing this prestigious award to Rafael Nadal. The announcement can be seen in the video below.

“There is little to mention about the curriculum of this outstanding person on and off the slopes," Montero said. "We are honored to convey this distinction to him not only for the undoubted sporting merits of one of the best sports in history at an international level, but also it is a pleasure to do it in a person who brings together the values of the youth referents, everything that allows us to be better. The Government makes this highly deserved sports recognition for one of our national pride, Rafael Nadal.”

Rafael Nadal joins the likes of Vicente del Bosque, Gervasio Deferr, Andres Iniesta, Iker Casillas and Xavi Hernandez to have been conferred the highest sporting distinction of Spain.

Published 13 Oct 2020, 19:25 IST
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