Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo has been voted Player of the Century at the Dubai Globe Soccer Awards.
The 35-year-old Juventus forward became the first man to receive the honour during the ceremony at Armani Hotel at Burj Khalifa on Sunday night, seeing off competition from Lionel Messi, Ronaldinho and Mohamed Salah.
Ronaldo, who was also nominated for Player of the Year, has often been celebrated at the awards, which run in collaboration with the Dubai Sports Council and the Dubai International Sports Conference.
It’s a great achievement, I’m so proud and happy,” said Ronaldo, who was presented the award by Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid, Chairman of Dubai Sports Council.
“Thank you to Globe Soccer, to everyone who voted for me, my teammates, the clubs that I played for, the national team, my family, my friends, especially my children and my girlfriend – they’re always with me, they always help me to be a better player and person,” Ronaldo said.
“I hope next year this pandemic is going to be over and we can enjoy more with more happiness, with the families. Thank you for the trophy,” he added.
This year’s Globe Soccer Awards were decided for the first time by fan voting and an expert panel, with organisers saying 22 million votes were tallied across the numerous categories.
Meanwhile, Robert Lewandowski pipped Ronaldo and Messi to the Player of the Year gong. The Bayern Munich striker, who attended both the conference and the awards, was earlier this month crowned Fifa’s men’s player of the year.