Argentine playmaker Juan Sebastian Veron was officially chosen as the best footballer in South America of 2008, an award that is handed out by Uruguayan newspaper El Pais.

Veron, the captain of Estudiantes de La Plata, beat Juan Roman Riquelme of Boca Juniors by three votes. Riquelme recently claimed the Argentine Apertura Championship with his club. Both players are likely to be taken into consideration by Argentine national team coach Diego Maradona for the restart of the 2010 World Cup qualifiers in March. Veron admitted that such an award is recognized around the world, and that he is very proud of the achievement.

"One is recognized not only by the people at a local level, but throughout the footballing world," Veron told radio Provincia. "This prize arrives in a special moment of my life, because my objective is to always be the best in what I do, and I've always thought in this way."
In third place in the voting was Paraguayan striker Salvador Cabanas of Club America of Mexico, with 19 votes less than Veron. Cabanas won the award in 2007. Internacional playmaker Andres D'Alessandro finished in fourth place, after having played a key role as his club lifted the Copa Sudamericana for the first time. Fifth place went to Liga Deportiva Universitaria goalkeeper Jose Francisco Cevallos, who was detrimental in his team's Copa Libertadores triumph.


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