By ADRIAN STEWART CO
United City Football Club star Bienvenido Marañon is delighted that his Filipino naturalization has been granted, paving the way for his possible stint with the Philippine Azkals.
According to the Spanish striker, he considers himself the happiest guy in the world right now after President Rodrigo Duterte signed the bill naturalizing him earlier this month.
“To be Filipino citizen is a dream that I have had since my second year in the country due the love and respect they show me along the way. I’m sure I will make them proud to have me as one of them,” Marañon said.
Marañon now needs to take an oath of allegiance to the Philippines, after which the Bureau of Immigration will issue a Certificate of Naturalization and finally fulfilling his dream to play for the national men’s football team.
“I would like to be part of [the] Azkals,” the 35-year-old Marañon said. “I would like to help them in their campaign along as much as I can and be part of Philippine football’s development.”
Marañon played for the defunct Ceres-Negros Football Club since he arrived in the country in 2015. He steered the club as it reached the ASEAN Zonal Final of the AFC Cup in 2017 and 2018.
He also made a huge impact in the domestic league helping Ceres-Negros FC with its grand slam title in the Philippines Football League from 2017 to 2019 and added another for United City FC this 2020 PFL season.
While playing for Ceres-Negros in AFC Cup, Marañon became the tournament’s all-time leading goalscorer with 35 goals, surpassing Jordanian Mahmoud Shelbaieh’s record of 34 goals in the AFC Cup.
Marañon is currently with the United City FC in Tashkent, Uzbekistan for the 2021 AFC Champions League group stage where they are in last place in Group I on one draw and three defeats./ASC, WDJ