Cristiano Ronaldo was named as FIFA World Player of the Year for 2008 on Monday and became the first Premier League player to get the award at a star-studded gala in Zurich.

The 23-year-old was in stunning form last term when he helped Manchester United to Premier League and European Cup success hitting 42 goals in the process, and after FIFA’s annual poll of international team coaches and captains he has added the world governing body’s prize to the prestigious Ballon d’Or which he has already received.

Ronaldo received the award from Pele, and said: ”It is an overwhelming moment and a very special moment in my life and I would like to say to my mother and sister that the fireworks can be set off now.

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Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo has won the 2008 Ballon d’Or award ahead of Lionel Messi and Fernando Torres.

Ronaldo was the clear favourite to land the prestigious prize after a remarkable year at Old Trafford. The powerful attacker netted 42 goals last season as the Red Devils claimed Premier League and UEFA Champions League glory.

He is already FIFPro World Player of the Year and also took the top prizes from the Professional Footballers’ Association and the Football Writers last term.

The Portugal winger is the first United player to win the Ballon d’Or since George Best in 1968 and the first from his country since Luis Figo in 2000.

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Cristiano Ronaldo will go into the UEFA Champions League final all but certain of winning of the ESM Golden Shoe for his 31 goals in the Premier League this season.

The Portuguese phenomenon is eight points clear of his closest rival in the race to be Europe’s best goalscorer of 2007/08, RCD Mallorca’s Daniel G├╝iza, who has scored 27 league goals.

With the seasons in the leading five European leagues all at an end, it is incredibly unlikely that anyone can catch the Manchester United FC player at the top of the table.

The nearest player to Ronaldo in the rankings who still has domestic league fixtures to play is Celtic FC’s Scott McDonald, who is 16th in the table with 37.5 points. With 1.5 points being awarded for every goal in the Scottish Premier League, as opposed to two south of the border, McDonald would need 17 goals in his side’s final league game to take the title from Ronaldo.

[Credits: UEFA.com]

Cristiano Ronaldo won the treble at United’s end of season awards, just hours after the Reds wrapped up the Barclays Premier League title with a thrilling win at Wigan.

Victory at the JJB Stadium made for an electric atmosphere at the Old Trafford party, where individual players at senior, reserve and academy level were rewarded for their efforts.

Ronaldo retained the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year gongs – and added the Goal of the Season award to his collection.

The Portuguese winger actually occupied the top two spots in the Goal of the Season award, taking first place with his stunning free kick against Portsmouth and second for his impudent backheel against Aston Villa.

The treble completes a remarkable campaign for Ronaldo, who earlier this month retained the PFA and Football Writers’ Player of the Season awards for his exertions.

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