Cristiano Ronaldo has been voted Player of the Century at the Dubai Globe Soccer Awards.
The Juventus forward, 35, 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.
The Portugal captain was also a guest speaker at the conference, which took place before the ceremony underthe theme “Football at the Top”.
“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.
“This gives me motivation to carry on with my life, my football, to continue my journey that I hope that I’m still available and fit to play a few years more. It’s great to be part of these awards with these amazing players; it is a great honour for me.
"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.”
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.
“This trophy means a lot for me, I have to say. Because everything I did with my team,” said the Pole, who had a superb 2019/20 season in which he won the Bundesliga, the Uefa Champions League and the German Cup.
“I have to say thank you to my teammates, my manager, my staff and my family also. I know that my father looks down on me from heaven.
“I can say also that dreams come true because I dreamed about playing on the big stadium with fans and to win the big titles and now I’m here.”
Elsewhere, Iker Casillas and Gerard Pique received Player Career awards. Fifa World Cup winners with Spain, both are hugely decorated at club level also, with Real Madrid and Barcelona, respectively. Casilla retired from the game in August.
In winning, the pair joins a roll of honour that includes Brazil’s Ronaldo, Andrea Pirlo, Xavi, Francesco Totti, Alessandro Del Piero, Ryan Giggs and Carles Puyol.
Other winners on the night included Pep Guardiola (Coach of the Century), Bayern Munich’s Hansi Flick (Coach of the Year), Real Madrid (Club of the Century) and Bayern (Club of the Year). Gianni Infantino, the Fifa president, had earlier given an address at the conference.