Lionel Messi was rewarded for a stunning year in which he helped Barcelona to an unprecedented six trophies by being named FIFA’s World Player of the Year.

The 22-year-old won the award for the first time, beating last year’s winner Cristiano Ronaldo, his two clubmates Andres Iniesta and Xavi and Brazil midfielder Kaka. He was presented with the trophy at a glittering awards gala in Zurich.

Also, the FIFA/FIFPro World XI, voted by members of the international professional footballers’ union FIFPro:

Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), John Terry (Chelsea), Nemanja Vidic (Man Utd), Patrice Evra (Man Utd), Daniel Alves (Barcelona), Xavi (Barcelona), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Fernando Torres (Liverpool).

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Cristiano Ronaldo thinks Manchester United will have a difficult task overcoming Chelsea next season with Luiz Felipe Scolari at the helm.

The Brazilian will take charge at Stamford Bridge after he has finished his duties with Portugal at Euro 2008.

And Ronaldo, who is under Scolari’s charge in Austria and Switzerland, is tipping his boss to have a big impact on the Premier League.

“Scolari gives his players the ambition to play attractive, attacking football. He is a great man, a great coach,” Ronaldo told The People.

“With him at Chelsea, it is going to be difficult for United.”

Ronaldo is fully behind Scolari’s decision to quit his role with Portugal.

“He needs to look after his future and I respect that. If you have better conditions, better things for his family and himself, I respect that he should go.”

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Manchester United claimed the UEFA Champions League trophy in a dramatic match in Moscow. The game was decided with penalty shoot-outs after a 1-1 draw, and United were the luckier team to triumph at 6-5 with the spot kicks.

Ronaldo almost turned from hero to villain in the match, scoring the opening goal for United but missed a crucial penalty during the penalty shoot-out. Fortunately John Terry (unfortunate for him) missed a penalty later which could have gave Chelsea the cup and thus given United the lifeline again… and Van der Sar eventually took advantage of with a fine save against Nicholas Anelka for United’s triumph.

It was a tense and tight game; either side could have won it, and either side would be deserving winner if they won it. United dominated the first half, but Chelsea dominated the later part of the game. Lady luck was obviously on United side though, as Chelsea twice hit the woodwork… and there is nothing to explain how Terry could have missed the penalty besides luck (or no luck).

With this trophy it seems like Ronaldo is on course to claim both the European and world title as the best footballer of the year. Well, that is unless some messiah appears during the Euro competition which outshines the 42 goals Ronaldo has scored this season… but who knows, Ronaldo could yet again be the shiniest star in Euro 2008.

Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is in war of words.

It started when Mourinho claimed on Sunday (Apr 22) that there was a new rule in English football, where United could not concede a penalty and Chelsea could not win one. Mourinho was referring to spot-kicks both Sheffield United and Middlesbrough felt they should have been given at Old Trafford and a penalty he thought Chelsea should have had at Newcastle.

“The whole world knows how he is,” Ronaldo later was reported to have told Portuguese television.

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