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.
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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