Barcelona's gifted Brazilian midfielder
Ronaldinho was elected the first FIFPro world player of the year on
Monday from a poll of 38,000 professional players in 40 countries.
The members of the players' world association also voted in a secret
ballot to choose the 2004-05 season's best team from a shortlist of 55
"It's a great honour to receive another one of these big prizes and this
one is extra special because it's voted for by my fellow players," said
Ronaldinho, who was voted FIFA's Player of the Year in December.
FIFPro president Gordon Taylor said: "There are no greater football
critics than the players themselves.
"To be recognised by your fellow professionals from across the world is
a unique honour.
"While we respect the many other football awards that are handed out I
think it is special to see these results, the very first ballot among
the world's players."
Ronaldinho's Barcelona team mate Samuel Eto'o, one of the strikers in
the world team, said: "The important thing is that all the players stick
together to fight against bad influences in football."
Referring to the blight of racism, he said: "It's not a problem for me.
I can be booed on the pitch and clapped off it. The problem is the kids
on the street who are the same colour as me, but if we are united to
fight against these things we can make them better."
Featuring alongside Ronaldinho in midfield in the world team are Real
Madrid's Zinedine Zidane with French compatriot Claude Makelele and his
Chelsea team mate Frank Lampard of England.
AC Milan, last season's Champions League runners-up, provided five
players with Brazilian goalkeeper Dida and defenders Cafu, also of
Brazil, as well as Italians Paolo Maldini and Alessandro Nesta and
Ukraine striker Andriy Shevchenko, the current European Footballer of
Cameroon striker Eto'o was chosen to partner Shevchenko up front, while
England centre back John Terry made it three for English champions
"To be involved with such illustrious names is a sign of our
achievements," Lampard said of the Chelsea trio who inspired their team
to the Premier League title. "There's three players in there tonight but
there could be more."
Asked which players in the world team he would like to have with him at
Barcelona, Ronaldinho said: "The whole of this team's very special,
they're great players so it's difficult to choose."
FIFPro, who announced the awards at a ceremony at the BBC broadcasting
studios in London, said Manchester United had provided two winners of
young player accolades.
England striker Wayne Rooney was chosen by their awards committee and
Portugal winger Cristiano Ronaldo voted by fans worldwide.
Team: Dida (Brazil/AC Milan); Cafu (Brazil/AC Milan), Alessandro Nesta (Italy/AC
Milan), John Terry (England/Chelsea), Paolo Maldini (Italy/AC Milan);
Frank Lampard (England/Chelsea), Claude Makelele (France/Chelsea),
Ronaldinho (Brazil/Barcelona) Zinedine Zidane (France/Real Madrid);
Samuel Eto'o (Cameroon/Barcelona), Andriy Shevchenko (Ukraine/AC Milan).