And the winner of the Fifa Player of the Year award is… Cristiano Ronaldo!

Manchester United’s Portuguese winger Cristiano Ronaldo has finally been crowned Fifa Player of the Year 2008.
At only 23 years of age, Cristiano Ronaldo becomes the youngest winner of this award in over a decade.

The number 7 Star was awarded on Monday night in Zurich, in front of personalities like Bobby Charlton, for his tremendous season in which his remarkable record of 42 goals in 49 games powered the Red Devils to win both the Champions League and the Premiership.

Above all, Ronaldo becomes the first ever Premiership player and only the second Portuguese after Figo in 2001 to win the Fifa Player of the Year award in its entire 18 years history.

Cristiano Ronaldo vied for the trophy amongst the likes of Xavi, Messi, Torres, and last year’s winner Kaká.
He obtained 935 points (43.4%) out of the total 2154 votes to finish first and well ahead of second placed Lionel who picked up 678 points and third placed Fernando Torres who had 203 points. Kaka and Xavi filled the remaining two places with 183 votes and 155 votes respectively.

Coincidently, the world’s most famous football personality Pelé was the one who announced Ronaldo’s victory. The Brazilian World Cup winner happened to shake Ronaldo’s hand at the ceremony in December 07 when Kaká won the prize. He eventually cheered Ronaldo up, who surprisingly finished third only that night, by saying ‘Next time I’ll give it to you’.

Speaking to the audience and the whole world, Ronaldo expressed his joy and emotions after he was handed his golden trophy:

“This is a special moment of my life. It’s a really unique occasion.

“I want to thank my mother, my father, my sisters – my whole family. I’d also like to thank my friends – they know who they are.

“I’ll also thank my manager, Jorge Mendes, and my team-mates, because without them I wouldn’t have won this prize here.

“I’m very pleased – this is one of the happiest moments of my life, and I hope to return here one day. Thank you all.”

The people’s picks

Now, let’s check out some of the names (national team coaches and captains) who voted for Cristiano Ronaldo.
Spain’s coach Vicente Del Bosque went out for Ronaldo in first place followed by Messi and Gerrard on the contrary of Casillas’ choice composed of Eto’o, Gerrard and Messi in third.

Ronaldo did not picked any points from his compatriot Carlos Queiroz and Nuno Gomes as it is not allowed to vote for players from their own country.
The Portuguese Superstar rather beneficed from Argentina’s representatives selection: World Cup winner Diego Maradona ranked Ronaldo at the top of his three-man list just like his captain Mascherano, with Ibrahimovic and Adebayor in second and third respectively.

Ronaldo was also chosen as the first in Cannavaro’s list but came third in John Terry’s list and second in Lippi’s. One person whose choice revealed the exact order of the eventual top three winners is Fabio Capello. The England manager chose Ronaldo, Messi and then Torres as his best three players for the year 2008.

Well, Cristiano Ronaldo has scooped all five individual major trophies, amongst other individual awards, which makes him the most decorated footballer of last year. The Manchester United number 7 Star now has his names amongst football’s greatest.

The ambitious player already looks forward to defend his title.

“I want to carry on and get better and better, even though it’s hard to achieve that. My ambition is huge,” Ronaldo revealed.

Only time will tell if he can succeed…

Written by: Angela Asante


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