Cristiano Ronaldo tonight became the first Premier League star to be named FIFA's world player of the year.

The Manchester United and Portugal winger beat AC Milan's Kaka, Liverpool's Fernando Torres and Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Xavi to take the award at a star-studded gala in Zurich. It caps a stunning year for the 23-year-old in which he played the starring role as United won the Premier League, Champions League and Club World Cup. His 31 league goals in the 2008-09 season, and 42 in total, won him the European Golden Shoe as the continent's top scorer. He was also awarded the Ballon d'Or by France Football magazine, and named FIFPro's player of the year.

Premier League players have finished as runner-up before, David Beckham and Thierry Henry both did so twice while Frank Lampard also came second two years ago but Ronaldo becomes the first to take the top prize. Ronaldo dedicated the award to his family but also paid tribute to influence of United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

He said: "It's a dream come true for me to get this award and I would like to dedicate this to my family. But it's also true that the manager always has an important role to play. It was a great season for me and for my club, and the coach was important for me because I learned a lot for him. His experience over so many years is of paramount importance, it's a privilege to have such a great club manager."
Messi finished in second place and Torres came third ahead of fourth-placed Kaka and Xavi.

Full result of votes:
  1. Cristiano Ronaldo: 935
  2. Lionel Messi: 678
  3. Fernando Torres: 203
  4. Kaka: 183
  5. Xavi: 155


  1. Anonymous  

    January 14, 2009 at 2:40 AM

    No one can deny that he is the best in the world now. I don't know if anyone's ever made a clean sweep of individual honours as he's done. Great player.

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