One decade after landing in Madrid as the most expensive footballer on the planet and as Real Madrid’s newest Galactico, Cristiano Ronaldo has returned to the Spanish capital to receive the MARCA Legend award. At an event held in the Teatro Reina Victoria, a theatre located in the very heart of the city, the now-Juventus player joined the other sporting legends to have received this honour that was created by the country’s leading newspaper in 1997. As such, his name is added to a list that includes other football legends such as Pele, Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi and global sports stars like Usain Bolt, Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali.
The Portuguese forward spoke during the event about his career and reflected on his nine years in Spain. “This is one of the most beautiful cities in the world,” he said. “I travel a lot, but I haven’t seen many cities like Madrid. I hope to return to Madrid as soon as possible because this is a city I love.”
He was interviewed by a group of kids, one of whom was a Real Madrid fan. “It makes me sad that you left Real Madrid,” the little boy said. “Me too,” Ronaldo replied. Another of the children asked him if he misses Manchester United or Real Madrid more, now that he is at Juventus. “I miss both of them, but I spent more time at Real Madrid and my family grew up here so I miss Real Madrid more,” the superstar replied. “It wasn’t easy to leave Real Madrid after nine years.”
Finally, Ronaldo took to the podium to express his gratitude at being awarded this prize: “This makes me very proud. This is an important trophy and I know the history of this prize. This trophy will proudly sit in my museum. I want to thank all those who helped me win this.”
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez was in attendance and, even if he didn’t speak at the event, he went up onto the stage to greet his former player and they shared a hug.