FC Barcelona's Brazilian playmaker Ronaldinho has been named FIFA World Player of the Year at the world football governing body's gala awards ceremony in Zurich.
The 24-year-old collected 620 points in a poll of 157 national team coaches and 145 international captains from around the world to win the award for the first time. Arsenal FC's French international Thierry Henry was second with 552 points – his second successive year as runner-up – with Ballon D'Or winner Andriy Shevchenko, of AC Milan and Ukraine, third on 253 points.
"For me just to be selected and to be here was already an honour," Ronaldinho said. "Of course I have to thank my Barcelona colleagues because I could not have won it without them. I am very happy at Barcelona, I want to be part of a new winning era at the club and I have no plans to go anywhere else."
In the poll, 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 European Footballer of the Year Juventus FC's Pavel Nedved was fourth, with the 2003 winner Zinedine Zidane fifth.
Ronaldinho has been an integral part of Barcelona's revival since arriving from Paris Saint-Germain FC, with Frank Rijkaard's side currently nine points clear at the top of the Primera División. He becomes the fourth Brazilian to capture the award since its introduction in 1991 after Romario (1994), three-time winner Ronaldo (1996, 1997 and 2002) and Rivaldo (1999). Remarkably, they all won the award when playing for Barça.
Germany's Birgit Prinz won women's player of the year, the Presidents' Award went to Haiti for promoting the match for peace against Brazil, and Brazil took the Fair Play award.
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