He earned 264 points from the votes cast by 142 national team coaches to beat off the challenges of France team-mate Thierry Henry of Arsenal FC and his Brazilian club-mate Ronaldo, last year's winner. Zidane was voted in first place by 35 coaches; Henry was voted first by 21 coaches and collected 186 points; while Ronaldo was voted first by 26 coaches for a total of 176 points.
Zidane's success means he equals Ronaldo's feat in winning the award three times, the only three-time winners since the award began in 1991. It also represents a hat-trick for Madrid following Luís Figo's victory in 2001 and Ronaldo's last year. "It doesn't matter how many times you win an award, it is always very special," said Zidane, "It is even more special when it is voted by the coaches. It is a major honour for me and I am very proud to have won it."
Zidane, then with Juventus FC, was the winner in 1998, when he lifted the FIFA World Cup with France, and again two years later when Les Bleus won the UEFA European Championship. Ronaldo won the award in 1996, 1997 and 2002. Henry was a popular pre-event favourite to become the first player from an English club to win the award - which has now been won seven times by Italian clubs and six times by sides from Spain.
The winner of the FIFA Women's World Player of the Year was Birgit Prinz of Germany and 1. FFC Frankfurt. Celtic FC won FIFA's Fair Play Award for the behaviour of their supporters throughout their run to the UEFA Cup final last season and especially for their sportsmanship following their defeat by FC Porto in the Seville final.
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