Marañon moves step closer to acquiring Filipino citizenship
He deeply craves a stint with the Philippine Azkals. More than that, Spanish striker Bienve Marañon believes he is a Filipino at heart.
“I want to live here, raise my family here and help football in this lovely country, which has been kind to me,’’ said Marañon, the all-time top scorer in the AFC Cup after scoring 35 goals for Ceres-Negros.
Now, he is set to become a Filipino in official documents.
The House of Representative Committee on Justice headed by Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso III has unanimously approved the naturalization of the 34-year-old Marañon, one of the pillars of the Ceres-Negros’ championship run in the Philippine Football League (PFL).
“It has always been my desire to play for the Azkals and I am grateful to Congress for making me a Filipino,’’ said Marañon, who resides in Bacolod City.
With Marañon consistently delivering for his club team in the international scene, the Azkals can certainly utilize his skill and dexterity for two to three more years and at least one Asian Cup and World Cup cycles.
“He will bring with him a lot of experience,’’ Philippine Football Federation president Mariano Araneta said.
Just recently, Marañon led United City (formerly Ceres-Negros) to another title in the PFL with a 7-1 triumph over Stallion Laguna to qualify to the AFC Champions League group stage next year.
Marañon last played in the AFC early this year, starring for Ceres in a 4-0 victory over Bali United.
It was Marañon’s fourth straight PFL championship crown with the club where he won the Golden Boot award after leading the tournament with seven goals.
Manila Rep. Manny Lopez, the former president of the country’s amateur boxing association, sponsored the bill to naturalize Marañon and will now be forwarded to the plenary for final approval.
Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri sponsored Marañon’s citizenship in the Senate in March this year prior to the series of lockdowns brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
Former Bacolod Rep. Monico Puentevella, a former Fifa director for TV and marketing, endorsed Marañon in the congressional hearing and appealed for the approval to improve the standing of the Azkals in the continent.
Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez and Agusan del Norte Rep. Lawrence Fortun seconded the approval of Marañon’s naturalization.