Ukraine's president, Leonid Kuchma, has honoured AC Milan striker Andriy Shevchenko with the national Order of Merit.
The 25-year-old has been given the award for his "significant personal effort for increasing the prestige of Ukrainian football in the world", according to Kuchma's official statement. By scoring the decisive penalty which earned AC Milan victory in this season's UEFA Champions League final, he became the first Ukrainian to win club football's top prize.
Shevchenko spent five seasons at FC Dynamo Kyiv, before joining Milan in 1999. In Ukraine he scored 60 goals in 117 games, while in Serie A he has racked up 58 goals in 113 games. Since making his international debut for Ukraine in 1995, he has scored 19 goals in 46 games. The striker has also won five Ukrainian titles, the Coppa Italia, and two Ukrainian Cups
After returning to Kiev with the European Champion Clubs' Cup in June, Shevchenko took it with him as he visited the statue of his mentor, former Dynamo and Ukraine coach Valeriy Lobanovskiy, at the Lobanovskiy stadium.
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