Cristiano Ronaldo has been named as 2008 UEFA Club Forward of the Year ahead of Didier Drogba, Lionel Messi, Wayne Rooney and Fernando Torres.
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Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United FC)
The Portuguese winger had an astonishing campaign at Old Trafford, a fabulous return of 42 goals from 49 appearances underpinning United's success. He swept the board at the end-of-season awards ceremonies, including becoming the first winger to win the ESM Golden Shoe, and only in the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg and the subsequent final did his Midas touch start to slip. Ronaldo missed penalties in both games, but neither proved decisive – few could argue that he deserved the break.
Didier Drogba (Chelsea FC)
Fourteen goals in Chelsea's campaign does not make remarkable reading, but in a season curtailed by injury and the African Cup of Nations Drogba still made an impact. The UEFA Champions League saw the best of the Ivorian, and he was pretty much unplayable in the second leg against Liverpool, his two goals sending Chelsea to their first final. In the process he became the club's top scorer in European competition, though it was an unwanted place in history he secured in the final, becoming only the second player to be sent off.
Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)
Known as La Pulga (The Flea), Messi continued to prove an irritant to opposing defences even if Barcelona's campaign was marked by disappointment. The season started well enough, the Argentinian scoring seven in six games at one point, and he was always a threat, helping himself to six goals in the UEFA Champions League. A torn thigh muscle in March curtailed Messi, however, and he was not fully fit as Barça bowed out of the competition in the last four.
Wayne Rooney (Manchester United FC)
The Liverpool-born forward's season got off to the worst of starts when he broke a toe in the opening game of the Premier League season but he battled back in typical fashion. Rooney marked his return with a goal against AS Roma, the start of a run that saw him register in seven consecutive games for club and country. He went on to score 18 goals, though it was his role as a provider for Cristiano Ronaldo that proved so profitable for United.
Fernando Torres (Liverpool FC)
The Reds' long search for a 20-goals-a-season striker apparently ended when they paid Club Atlético de Madrid €30m for the services of Torres in summer 2007. He wasted little time in repaying the fee, returning 24 goals in his maiden Premier League campaign and another six in the UEFA Champions League as he made the step up to European club football's biggest stage with minimal fuss. He scaled even higher at UEFA EURO 2008™, scoring the only goal of the final.