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).
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.
Cristiano Ronaldo has been named Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year for the second time in succession.
The Manchester United midfielder has enjoyed another outstanding campaign having scored 38 goals in all competitions for the Barclays Premier League champions.
The 23-year-old beat off competition from Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard, Cesc Fabregas, Emmanuel Adebayor and David James to land the prize.
Arsenal midfielder Fabregas was named Young Player of the Year – an award which Ronaldo also won in 2007 – at a star-studded ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel tonight.
PFA team of the year (Premier League)
David James (Portsmouth), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal), Rio Ferdinand (Man Utd), Nemanja Vidic (Man Utd), Gael Clichy (Arsenal), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal), Cristiano Ronaldo (Man Utd), Ashley Young (Aston Villa), Emmanuel Adebayor (Arsenal), Fernando Torres (Liverpool).