UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin has attended Portugal's Quinas de Ouro awards ceremony, and presented the Player of the Year award to Portugal and Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo.
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UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin has attended Portugal’s annual Quinas de Ouro awards ceremony in Lisbon.
The awards recognise the achievements of top performing Portuguese men and women in football, futsal and beach soccer in 2017, both in Portugal and abroad.
At the ceremony, Mr Čeferin presented Portugal’s Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo with the Player of the Year award, and paid tribute to the striker, whose scoring prowess has helped both the Portuguese national team and Madrid to European glory in recent times.
“A great player has to fulfill three aspects,” the UEFA President said. “He has to have great technical ability, he has to be physically perfect, and he has to be psychologically stable. But the best players of all, those who are unique, have something magical in them, they have a gift.”
“It's something very hard to explain, but you just know what it is when you see it."
Portugal has been enjoying considerable success in the past few years. The national football team captured their first-ever European title when they won UEFA EURO 2016 in France two summers ago. They have been joined by the national futsal team, who won the UEFA Futsal EURO title in Slovenia last month.
"It is a success built on the idea the FPF has about what football should be, based on dedication, work and vision, always supporting the Portuguese coaches and the Portuguese players,” said the president of the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF), Fernando Gomes.
UEFA has played a key role in helping Portuguese football development. Funding from UEFA’s HatTrick assistance programme was crucial in the construction of Portugal’s Cidado do Futebol (City of Football) complex, opened in spring 2016, which houses the Portuguese association’s headquarters and the national technical centre.
Women’s football in Portugal is flourishing too – participation levels have increased among girls and women, and the senior national team reached their first-ever UEFA Women’s EURO final tournament in the Netherlands last summer.
“We don't just take the easiest road,” Fernando Gomes explained. “We strategically create development projects in different fields, like futsal or women's football, so that we can have a group of young players capable of representing our national teams at the highest of levels."