Cristiano Ronaldo confirmed as speaker for Sunday’s Dubai International Sports Conference

Cristiano Ronaldo during the 14th Dubai International Sports Conference last year. The Portuguese star is a regular at the Dubai event.
Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the biggest names in world football, will join Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski to talk at this year’s Dubai International Sports Conference (DISC), which is taking place under the theme ‘Football at the Top’ at the Armani Hotel in Burj Khalifa.

A Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiative, DISC is organised by Dubai Sports Council (DSC) and it has been bringing football’s top names together since 2006 for extensive discussions on ways to develop and enrich the sport at the domestic, regional and international level.

This year again, the conference will feature two of the biggest stars of football — Juventus and Portugal ace Ronaldo, and 2020 Fifa Men’s Player of the Year Lewandowski — alongside a number of other top decision-makers from across the world of football when it convenes this coming Sunday.

Ronaldo is a regular visitor to Dubai and counts the city among his favourite holiday destinations. He has also been a strong supporter of DISC, featuring on its speakers’ panel multiple times in previous years, sharing his experiences with the audience and talking about various aspects related to his celebrated career, and his achievements with different clubs and country.

A five-time winner of the Ballon d’Or and one of the most decorated players of the modern era, Ronaldo is also a multiple winner of Dubai Globe Soccer Awards, which are considered part of the ‘Grand Slam’ of football award ceremonies alongside the Ballon d’Or and the Fifa Football Awards.

His overflowing trophy cabinet and his success for both club and country level, as well as his staggering list of individual achievements, make Ronaldo the ideal guest for this year’s subject — ‘Football at the Top’.

Lewandowski, meanwhile, will also detail his career and talk about his insatiable appetite for goals, which saw him score a staggering 55 times in 47 appearances for Bayern Munich last season, as he finished as top scorer in the Bundesliga, German Cup and Champions League.

Lewandowski’s stellar season saw Bayern win every game in Europe, including the Champions League final against Paris St-Germain, as well as the Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal double at home. The German powerhouses have also now added the DFB Super Cup and Uefa Super Cup.

Recognised by Uefa as the European Player of the Year earlier in October, Poland international Lewandowski was named Fifa Men’s Player of the Year last week, ahead of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. He became the first Polish player or a player from a German club to win the Fifa Player of the Year award since its inception in 1991, and he is only the second player after Luka Modric in 2018 to break a 13-year Messi-Ronaldo dominance.

Both Ronaldo and Lewandowski feature on Dubai Globe Soccer Awards’ shortlist of nominees for the Player of the Year award — alongside Barcelona star Lionel Messi. Ronaldo makes the list following his starring role in Juventus’ ninth successive Serie A title last season. The 35-year-old was part of Juventus’ success in 2018-2019 as well after arriving from Real Madrid, where he won two Spanish La Liga titles, two Copa del Rey, four Uefa Champions League and three Fifa Club World Cups alongside a number of other titles.

Ronaldo has also won three English Premier League titles and a Champions League and Club World Cup with Manchester United, as well as the 2016 European Championship with Portugal and the 2018-19 Uefa Nations League.

Those stats make Ronaldo a front-runner for the Player of the Century (2001-2020) Award, which will be presented on December 27, at the same venue, following the conclusion of DISC.

Organised in collaboration with DSC and DISC, the Dubai Globe Soccer Awards will also honour Club of the Year and Club of the Century (2001-2020), Coach of the Year and Coach of the Century (2001-2020), and the Agent of the Century (2001-2020).

More than 21 million fans have already cast their votes for the Awards, and Ronaldo has received the maximum fan votes in both the Player of the Year and the Player of the Century categories. Bayern Munich have polled the maximum votes in the Club of the Year category, while Spanish powerhouses Real Madrid have received the most votes in the Club of the Century (2001-2020) polling.

The fan votes, however, have only 40 per cent weight in deciding the winners. The votes by the Awards’ jury has a 60 per cent sway and the final winners will be announced after taking the jury votes into count.

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