Real Madrid captain Iker Casillas and Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez received one of Spain's top civil awards, the Prince of Asturias Prize, from the heir to the Spanish throne Prince Felipe on Friday.
Felipe handed diplomas at his annual prize-giving in the northern city of Oviedo to the two, who are friends off the pitch and played together in Spain's Euro 2012 winning team.
The prize jury praised them for good sportsmanship, saying they "symbolise the values of friendship beyond the great rivalry of their respective teams".
Casillas paid tribute to his Real Madrid and Spain team mates, saying that he and Xavi "are the visible head of a generation that will remain for posterity", in comments published on his club's website.
As well as the sport award won by the players, Felipe's Prince of Asturias Foundation gives its prizes in seven other areas including literature and science.