Ronaldinho won the
Golden Ball on Monday as European player of the year, another honor for
the Brazilian following his FIFA player of the year award last year.
Ronaldinho, a midfielder who won the Spanish league title with Barcelona
and the Confederations Cup with Brazil, is the third player from his
country to win the Golden Ball following Rivaldo (1999) and Ronaldo
Ronaldinho finished ahead of Frank Lampard of Chelsea and Steven Gerrard
of Liverpool. Andriy Shevchenko of AC Milan, last year's winner, placed
fifth behind Thierry Henry of Arsenal.
"This is a dream come true," Ronaldinho said. "When I see all the names
on the list, when I see my idols Ronaldo and Rivaldo, I realize this is
a great honor."
Ronaldinho finished with 225 points, followed by Lampard (148) and
Gerrard (142). The winner is chosen by France Football magazine's annual
poll of 52 journalists from around the world. This is the 50th
anniversary of the award, which was first won by England's Stanley
Ronaldinho's cunning, speed, power and strength make him one of the most
dangerous attacking players. He already has drawn comparisons to Diego
"God gives gifts to everyone," Ronaldinho said. "Some can write, some
can dance. He gave me the skill to play football and I am making the
most of it."
The 25-year-old player joined Barcelona from Paris Saint-Germain in 2003
and has scored 33 league goals in 79 games, including nine this season.
He also has scored 13 times in 19 Champions League games for Barcelona.
He has played 62 times for Brazil and scored 27 times. He helped the
team win its fifth World Cup title in 2002 in Japan.