Tue, January 13, 2009
Sports > Soccer

Cristiano Ronaldo wins FIFA World Player award

2009-01-13 03:56:00 GMT2009-01-13 11:56:00 (Beijing Time)  SINA.com

Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal (R) and Marta of Brazil pose for photographers at the end of the FIFA World Player of the Year soccer awards ceremony in Zurich January 12, 2009. [Agencies]

Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal holds the FIFA World Player 2008 award during the FIFA World Player of the Year soccer awards ceremony in Zurich January 12, 2009. [Agencies]

World Player of the Year 2008 nominees (L to R) Xavi, Fernando Torres, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Kaka pose for photographers after their news conference before the FIFA World Player Gala in Zurich January 12, 2009. [Agencies]

World Player of the Year 2008 nominee Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal attends a press conference before the FIFA World Player Gala in Zurich January 12, 2009. [Agencies]

Marta of Brazil holds the FIFA Women's World Player of the Year 2008 award during the FIFA World Player of the Year soccer awards ceremony in Zurich January 12, 2009. [Agencies]

ZURICH -- Manchester United and Portugal winger Cristiano Ronaldo was named FIFA World Player of the Year at a ceremony on Monday.

Barcelona's Argentine forward Lionel Messi was second, with Liverpool and Spain striker Fernando Torres third.

Spain midfielder Xavi Hernandez, also of Barcelona, and AC Milan's Brazilian playmaker Kaka completed the top five.

Brazil's Marta won the women's award for the third year in a row. She earlier announced she is joining the Los Angeles Sol in the Women's Professional Soccer League.

Christine Sinclair of Burnaby, B.C., was among the 10 initial nominees for the women's honour.

Ronaldo won the honor for the first time after helping United win the Premier League, Champions League and Club World Cup.

It also completed a hat-trick of individual honors for the 23-year-old, who had already won the football journalists' Ballon d'Or trophy and the FIFPro World Player of the Year title voted for by his fellow professionals.

"It's an overwhelming moment, very special," said Ronaldo after receiving the FIFA award from Pele.

"I can say to my mother and sister, 'let the fireworks off now'. It's one of the most important moments in my life."

ENGLISH FIRST

Ronaldo is the first player based at an English club to win the FIFA award, which had previously gone only to footballers playing for Spanish or Italian sides.

"There may be no English players here but I believe it's important for England that myself and Fernando Torres are here representing two English clubs," said Ronaldo before the ceremony.

"It is a victory for the English fans as well because the Premier League is strong, even though we must not forget the leagues in Spain and Italy remain strong as well."

The FIFA award is voted by the national team coaches and captains of the 208-member associations of world soccer's governing body.

Ronaldo was voted in first place by 136 of the coaches and captains while 76 put Messi top.

The United player picked up 935 total points, ahead of 678 for Messi and 203 for Torres.

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