Fernando Alonso becomes honorary member at Real Madrid
Fernando Alonso said he was born to be a Real Madrid fan after being elected as an honorary club member at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The two-time Formula One champion was presented with his membership card and a personalised shirt by club president Florentino Perez during a ceremony on Monday.
McLaren driver Alonso joins the likes of Rafael Nadal and Sergio Garcia in receiving the honour.
"Many thanks to the president and Real Madrid," said Alonso. "It is a tremendously special day to be here in this stadium that I love from a distance with all the trips I have.
"I'm always up to date with what is happening at Real Madrid and I always follow the great moments that we share.
"This started from when I was little, my father was a big Real Madrid fan and he instilled in me the values of the club. Since I was little I experienced the [iconic Madrid quintet of players] Quinta del Buitre and everything that came from there.
"I've always tried to enjoy it as much as possible and always with passion.
"I've been asked a lot why I support Real Madrid. I've never had a clear answer.
"I am a Real Madrid fan because I am a Real Madrid fan. Neither do I know why my eyes are brown.
"Real Madrid chose me to be, like millions of people, a fan of this great club. Somehow, we were born to be fans of this great club.
"I am another member and it's a great source of pride and honour. Hala Madrid and nothing more!"
Perez added: "This recognition is a sign of gratitude for your love and commitment.
"Your character represents values that are ours: commitment, fighting to the end, sacrifice, yearning for victories. Your courage and bravery in the face of adversity have made you an icon of world sport.
"This club, like you, always wants more. This is your Real Madrid, the club that has 12 European Cups.
"We all know you are the best and we want to thank you for your love for Real Madrid."