Tue, January 13, 2009
Sports > Soccer

Ronaldo takes 1st award, Marta makes it three in a row

2009-01-13 00:43:37 GMT2009-01-13 08:43:37 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal holds the FIFA World Player 2008 award during the FIFA World Player of the Year soccer awards ceremony in Zurich Jan. 12, 2009. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

Soccer player Marta from Brazil poses with the trophy after being named FIFA World Player of the Year during the FIFA World Player Gala 2008 at the Opera house in Zurich, Switzerland, Monday, Jan. 12, 2009. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

Soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo from Portugal, left, receives the trophy from former Brazilian soccer star Pele, right, after being named FIFA World Player of the Year during the FIFA World Player Gala 2008 at the Opera house in Zurich, Switzerland, Monday, Jan. 12, 2009. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

Soccer players Cristiano Ronaldo from Portugal, right, and Marta from Brazil, left, pose with their trophies after being named FIFA Men's and Women's World Player of the Year during the FIFA World Player Gala 2008 at the Opera house in Zurich, Switzerland, Monday, Jan. 12, 2009. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

GENEVA, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- Manchester United and Portugal striker Cristiano Ronaldo won the FIFA World Footballer of the Year for 2008 on Monday.

Ronaldo, who is also holder of the prestigious Ballon d'Or for the European Footballer of the Year, beat off competition from 2007 winner Kaka (Brazil), Lionel Messi (Argentina), Fernando Torres (Spain) and Xavi (Spain).

"Winning the Champions League for me was the most memorable moment of 2008," said Ronaldo, who scored in the final but missed a penalty in the penalty shootout against Chelsea.

Ronaldo, scorer of 42 goals in all competitions in the 2007-2008 season, was one of United's architects behind the club's English Premiership and Champions League double.

Ronaldo becomes the second Portuguese player to win the FIFA accolade after Luis Figo in 2001, and the first one playing for a British club.

He reaped 935 points in the vote in which the coaches and captains of 155 national teams took part. Messi finished second (678 points) and was trailed by Torres (203), Kaka (183) and Xavi (155).

Brazilian midfielder Marta was unveiled as FIFA World Women's Footballer of the year for 2008, for the third year running.

Marta delivered an outstanding performance at the women's Olympic football tournament in Beijing 2008, and equaled the record set by Birgit Prinz by claiming her third consecutive title.

For the women's vote, 139 coaches and captains cast their vote and Marta won comfortably (1,002 points) ahead of Germany's Prinz (328), Brazil's Cristiane (275), Germany's Nadine Angerer (198) and England's Kelly Smith (150).

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