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Originally published by Panay News

MANILA – United City Football Club star Bienvenido Marañon considers himself the happiest guy in the world after President Rodrigo Duterte signed his naturalization bill.

“To be a Filipino citizen is a dream that I have had since my second year in the country due to the love and respect they show me along the way. I’m sure I will make them proud to have me one of them,” according to the Spanish striker.

Duterte inked his naturalization bill on Wednesday. Marañon only needs to take an oath of allegiance to the Philippines, after which the Bureau of Immigration will issue a Certificate of Naturalization.

Once he completed the process, he will be eligible to play for the Philippine Azkals and will have his baptismal of fire with the national men’s football club this year in the AFF Suzuki Cup.

“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 has previously suited up for the defunct Ceres-Negros Football Club since 2015. He steered the club as it reached the ASEAN Zonal Final of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup in 2017 and 2018. While in Ceres, Marañon helped the squad obtain the grand slam title in the Philippines Football League (PFL) from 2017 to 2019 and added another for the United City FC in the 2020 PFL season.

He was also the team’s all-time leading goalscorer with 35 goals, surpassing Jordanian Mahmoud Shelbaieh’s 34 goals in the AFC Cup.

The booter is currently with the United City FC in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, for the 2021 AFC Champions League./PN

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