LISBON, Portugal (AP) – Cristiano Ronaldo is to be granted one of Portugal's highest honors by the country's president.
A presidential statement Friday said that Ronaldo deserved the recognition because he is ''a worldwide symbol of Portugal, making the country better known internationally, and an example of perseverance for younger generations.''
The Real Madrid forward, named FIFA player of the year in 2008, is Portugal's most famous athlete. He has made 109 national team appearances, the third most, and is leading scorer alongside the retired Pauleta with 47 goals each.
He will lead the Portuguese bid for its first international trophy at the World Cup in June.
Ronaldo is to receive the medal and ribbon making him an official of the Order of Prince Henry at a ceremony on Tuesday at Lisbon's presidential palace.