Ronaldinho named World Player of the Year
ZURICH, Tuesday (Reuters) Brazil and Barcelona playmaker Ronaldinho
picked up his second successive World Player of the Year award from
soccer's governing body FIFA on Monday.
He is the third Brazilian to win the world and European player awards
in the same year after Ronaldo in 1997 and 2002, and Rivaldo in 1999.
Ronaldinho picked up 956 points to comfortably beat Chelsea's England
midfielder Frank Lampard (306) in the FIFA vote by national coaches and
captains around the world.
The Brazilian's Barcelona team mate Samuel Eto'o of Cameroon finished
in third place with 190 points.
"I would like to say thank you to all my team mates and national team
because without them all I would not be here," Ronaldinho told the FIFA
Gala, hosted at the lakeside opera house in snowy Zurich.
"I hope I can make people happy with what I do and I hope to be here
again in a year's time," he said, before being whisked back to
The 25-year-old Ronaldinho also won the inaugural FIFPro World Player
of the Year award, selected by his fellow players, in September.
Ronaldinho enjoyed a hugely successful year, helping Barcelona win
the Primera Liga title and featuring in Brazil's Confederations Cup
triumph in Germany.
"He will undoubtedly be one of the star turns at next year's World
Cup in Germany," FIFA said in a statement.
Runner-up Lampard was magnanimous in defeat.
"I am not disappointed," he told reporters, calling his Brazilian
opponent a deserved winner.
"For me he is the most exciting player and the player I enjoy
watching the most in the world."
The poll was based on the verdict of 159 international coaches and
captains. Five points were awarded for a first place nomination, three
for second and one for third.
Germany's Birgit Prinz beat off competition from Brazilian player
Marta and U.S. challenger Shannon Boxx to win the women's crown for the
third successive year.
Although Brazil's Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane of France have each won
the men's award three times, FIFA said Prinz's triumph was historic as
it was the first time a player had achieved a consecutive hat-trick.
Brazil were named Team of the Year, while FIFA also handed the
Peruvian city of Iquitos its Fair Play award.
The community, located in the middle of the Amazon region, was one of
the venues for the under-17 world championship held between September
The President's Award went to Sweden's former international referee
Frisk retired from the sport in March when he received death threats
after officiating in Barcelona's controversial 2-1 victory over Chelsea
in the Champions League in February.