Ronaldinho Gaucho

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Ronaldinho wins FIFA Player of the Year

Ronaldinho won the poll of national team coaches and captains with 960 points, easily outdistancing Lampard, who had 306 points. Eto'o, who plays alongside Ronaldinho at Barcelona, was third with 190.

"It's a huge joy to be able to keep up this high level of performance the last years and I hope to be able to come back here over and over again," Ronaldinho said.

Ronaldinho became the third player to win the award twice since its inception in 1991. Ronaldo of Brazil and Zinedine Zidane of France have taken the prize three times.

Brazilians have won the award seven of the 15 times it has been given. On Monday, FIFA honored Brazil as the best team for the fourth year in a row.

In May, Ronaldinho led Barcelona to its first Spanish league title in six years, and his 10 goals this season have helped the team return to the top of the standings. He has 34 league goals in 82 games since his arrival from Paris Saint-Germain in 2003, and another 13 in 19 games against European competition. Ronaldinho also spearheaded Brazil's Confederations Cup title, capped by a victory over Argentina in the final.

Lampard also finished second to Ronaldinho last month for the European Player of the Year award. The attacking midfielder for Chelsea played in every game of last year's Premier League-winning season - the Blues' first in 50 years.

Eto'o is the reigning African Player of the Year and leads the Spanish league with 15 goals.

"I find it positive to be seated here next to great players, who are part of the dream of thousands and thousands of Africans," Eto'o said. "Just a few years ago, I was kicking a ball in a street in Cameroon."

Prinz finished with 513 points while Marta had 429 and Boxx 235.

"Awards never are a bore," said Prinz, who has 90 goals in 143 international games for Germany.

Mia Hamm, who retired from professional soccer last year, finished runner-up to Prinz in 2003 and 2004 after winning the award the two previous years.


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