LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - A car crash in 1963 ended Julio Iglesias' dreams of playing professional football but, at age 75, he is still having a ball as a singer.
He can no longer run but his showbiz career has not run out of steam after 50 years.
That, he said, is "a miracle in my life".
The Spanish crooner kicks off the European leg of his 50th anniversary tour in Antwerp on Sunday (June 9), with a Grammy lifetime achievement award to add to his many accolades.
Long before the arrival on the pop scene of Puerto Rican Ricky Martin 20 years ago and the 2017 global sensation Despacito, Iglesias was turning out international 1980s hits like Begin The Beguine and To All The Girls I've Loved Before.
He has sold more than 300 million records in 14 languages.
Iglesias said in an interview he feels privileged to have had such a long career and dismisses concerns raised in the Spanish press about his recent health.
He turned to singing after the car accident.
"At 75 years old, of course I cannot play football. I cannot run, but I am in perfect condition," he said.
"I still have the passion in my heart. If I don't sing, my heart doesn't beat so strong.
"Fifty years on the road, playing from China to Finland, it's a miracle."
After all the years, Iglesias still gets a thrill from being with an audience.
"The feeling is the same. You close your eyes and you are on the stage and you feel that warmth from the people," he said.
"I am an artist who is grateful 1,000 per cent to the people.
"I will belong to the people until I die," he added.