Cristiano Ronaldo crowned World Player of the Year | inside World Soccer

Cristiano Ronaldo crowned World Player of the Year

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Cristiano Ronaldo has been named the FIFA World Player of the Year to complete a clean sweep of football's top individual honors for 2008.

The Manchester United winger has already claimed the FIFPro World Player of the Year title and the highly-regarded Ballon d'Or crown after a remarkable season in which he scored 42 goals in 49 matches for the Red Devils, helping them to Premier League and Champions League glory.

The result was announced by Brazil's all-time great Pelé at a glittering awards ceremony in Zürich, with Barcelona forward Lionel Messi coming in second and Liverpool striker Fernando Torres was third. AC Milan ace and the 2007 winner Kaká was fourth followed by Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernández, Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard and Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o.

Ronaldo struggled to hold back the tears as he paid an emotional tribute to his team-mates and family.

He said: "It's a dream come true for me to get this award and I would like to dedicate this to my family.

"To my mother and my sisters I’d like to say you can now light up the fireworks. I’d also like to thank my team-mates.

"This is the climax of a fantastic era for me. I'm happy and proud about what has been done by my team and what we have won.

"I am lucky to be part of the history of a club like Manchester United."

The 23-year-old becomes the first Premier League player to scoop the award since its launch 18 years ago.

He also emulates the achievement of his countryman Luis Figo who took the prize in 2001, when David Beckham - who also wore the No. 7 shirt for United - was the runner-up.

Meanwhile, Brazil's Marta was named FIFA Women's World Player of the Year for the third year in a row.

The annual Fair Play award was given to the national federations of Armenia and Turkey, who faced each other in a match for the first time last September. The two nations had been in dispute for almost a century since World War I-era massacres of Armenians in Turkey.

FIFA also gave a special award to the Palestine Football Association for opening the Al-Husseini stadium and staging the first international match on the West Bank.

FIFA World Player of the Year winners:

2008Cristiano RonaldoPortugalManchester United
2007KakáBrazilAC Milan
2006Fabio CannavaroItalyReal Madrid
2003Zinedine ZidaneFranceReal Madrid
2002RonaldoBrazilReal Madrid
2001Luis FigoPortugalReal Madrid
2000Zinedine ZidaneFranceJuventus
1998Zinedine ZidaneFranceJuventus
1997RonaldoBrazilInter Milan
1995George WeahLiberiaAC Milan
1993Roberto BaggioItalyJuventus
1992Marco van Basten NetherlandsAC Milan
1991Lothar MatthäusGermanyBayern Munich

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