LISBON, Portugal — Cristiano Ronaldo received one of Portugal’s highest honors from the country’s president Monday.
The Portugal captain was awarded a medal and ribbon, making him an official of the Order of Prince Henry at a formal ceremony in Lisbon’s presidential palace.
Ronaldo said it was “a moment of great pride” that gave him “the motivation to keep working, and even harder in the future.”
“I look upon football as fun,” the 28-year-old Ronaldo said. “There’s a while to go before I retire, and I want to win more trophies at club and national level.”
The Real Madrid forward, soccer’s player of the year in 2008 and 2013, is Portugal’s most famous athlete. He has made 109 national team appearances, the third most, and is the nation’s leading scorer alongside the retired Pauleta with 47 goals each. He will lead Portugal’s bid for its first international trophy at the World Cup in Brazil.
“Winning the World Cup is a dream,” Ronaldo said. “It would be the peak of my career.”
President Anibal Cavaco Silva said Ronaldo deserved the recognition because he “brings prestige for Portugal around the world.”
As well as his natural talent, Ronaldo is an example for younger generations, Cavaco Silva said, because of his “hard work, discipline, determination and will to win.”
The ceremony was attended by members of Ronaldo’s family, Portuguese government officials and Spanish diplomats, as well as Real Madrid President Florentino Perez and Portugal coach Paulo Bento.