Ronaldinho Voted Fifa’s World Player Of The Year
Ronaldinho of Barcelona and Brazil has won the Fifa 2004 World Player of the Year award. Playmaker Ronaldinho, 24, pipped strikers Thierry Henry of Arsenal and France and Andriy Shevchenko of AC Milan and the Ukraine to claim the accolade.
The Brazilian won the vote of coaches and captains from international sides with 620 points. e Henry polled 552 and Shevchenko accumulated 253.
"Just to be here brings me great joy. It is a great victory, as I have never been a great scorer," said Ronaldinho.
He added: "But we all play in our own way and each of the three nominees deserved to win. I’m even more happy now that I have won.
"I must thank my Barcelona colleagues because I could not have won it without them."
It was the second year running that Henry has finished runner-up in the poll, based on the verdict of 157 international coaches and, for the first time this year, 145 national team captains.
Five points were awarded for a first place nomination, three for second and one for third.
Ronaldinho gained 89 first place votes, Henry 79 and Shevchenko 34.
Last year’s winner, Zinedine Zidane of Real Madrid and France, who announced his international retirement after Euro 2004, finished fourth this year.
Juventus and Czech Republic midfielder Pavel Nedved, last year’s European Footballer of the Year, came fifth.
Ronaldinho paid tribute to Henry and Shevchenko after collecting his award. And he dismissed recent speculation linking him with a move away from Barca to Chelsea.
He added: "I am of course very happy to have won the award. Thierry Henry and Andriy Shevchenko are two great players, we could all have won the award.
"I feel very happy where I am at Barcelona and I will go on with my work in peace."
His Barca team-mate, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, told the BBC that he thought Ronaldinho was a deserved winner of the prize.
"He’s so skilful with the ball and so fast and strong, you’d much rather play with him than against him," said van Bronckhorst.
"He is very important to us, he is like the crown jewels. He is the face of this team, like Henry is Arsenal’s."
Henry was disappointed not to win the trophy, but praised his two rivals, saying: "If you do not win you cannot say you are happy but the other two are tremendous players.
"When you see what Shevchenko is doing in Serie A and Ronaldinho in Spain, they are the kind of players who make you jump off your seat.
"To be here two years in a row means I have been consistent for a long time and that really pleases me."
In other Fifa awards, Birgit Prinz was voted Women’s Player of The Year, China the Most Improved Team and Brazil the Team of the Year.
Previous winners of the Fifa World Player of the Year:
2003: Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid)
2002: Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
2001: Luis Figo (Real Madrid)
2000: Zinedine Zidane (Juventus)
1999: Rivaldo (Barcelona)
1998: Zinedine Zidane (Juventus)
1997: Ronaldo (Inter Milan)
1996: Ronaldo (Barcelona)
1995: George Weah (AC Milan)
1994: Romario (Barcelona)
1993: Roberto Baggio (Juventus)
1992: Marco Van Basten (AC Milan)
1991: Lothar Matthaeus (Inter Milan)
WHO VOTED FOR WHOM:
ERIKSSON: Henry, Deco, Nedved
BECKHAM: Henry, Ronaldo, Zidane
SANCHEZ: Henry, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo
A HUGHES: Ronaldinho, Henry, Deco
VOGTS: Henry, Deco, Zagorakis
FERGUSON: Rooney, Henry, Gerrard
M HUGHES: Nedved, Makaay, Larsson
SPEED: Nedved, Eto’o, Figo
KERR: Ronaldinho, Henry, Deco
Fair enough for Ronaldinho to win it. All three player if you wanted to buy them would be the equivilant of the GPD of Uzbekistan, Uganda, and Mongolia and a few other improvished nations.
Would be nice to see Steven Gerrard to win it at one some stage considering how important he has become for Liverpool and for England (personally I would rather he wore the captain's armband then David Beckham).
Zagorakis and Rooney may have been great in Euro 2004 (of course Zagorakis captained Greece to Euro victory), but surely including them is having a laugh?