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Fair Play to Eusebio and Merk

Eusebio and German referee Markus Merk were both honoured at the International Fair Play Awards in Paris.

Great pride
"It is a tremendous honour for me - a credit both to me and to my old club," said Eusebio who received the accolade, given annually for careers that have combined outstanding results with decency on and off the field, from International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge. "It is a very different honour from those I have received in the past, but it is a source of great pride nonetheless," he added.

Top Merk
Meanwhile, German FIFA World Cup referee Markus Merk also took to the stage to accept an honorary diploma, marking the charity work carried out by the 40-year-old dentist from Kaiserslautern. Merk has been the driving force behind a number of health and educational projects for under-privileged children in Sri Lanka.

Good behaviour
Both men will be in good company in the CIFP hall of fame. Previous recipients of International Fair Play awards include football coaches Demis Nikolaidis, Zdenek Zeman and Dr Jozef Venglos - the latter two having been honoured for their careers in the game, the former for his sporting attitude. Meanwhile, Alpay Özalan, Robbie Fowler and Roberto Baggio are among the players to have been commended by the committee for their conduct over the past decade.

European champion
Born in Mozambique in 1942, Eusebio was the first great African footballer. A star of Benfica's famed side of the 1960s, he played in four European Champion Clubs' Cup finals with the Lisbon Eagles, claiming a winner's medal after scoring twice in the 5-3 defeat of Real Madrid CF in 1962. He was also France Football magazine's European Footballer of the Year in 1965, and top scorer at the 1966 FIFA World Cup finals where Portugal finished third.

Olympic partner
Eusebio - known as the Black Panther in his playing days - attended the ceremony with the chairman of Portugal's Olympic Committee, Vicente de Moura. The CIFP was founded by UNESCO in 1963 and though an independent body, it is still supported by that organisation and is also officially recognised by the IOC as an Olympic Movement Partner.