Portugal’s Ronaldo is 2008 World Footballer of the Year (lead)

January 13th, 2009 - 8:24 am ICT by IANS  

Zurich (Switzerland) Jan 13 (DPA) Manchester United’s Portuguese winger Cristiano Ronaldo, who last month won the European Footballer of the Year, was named FIFA World Footballer of the Year 2008.Ronaldo, 23, who made history by becoming the first Premier League-based player to win the award Monday, convincingly beat Argentine striker Lionel Messi in second place.

Third place in the voting conducted by national team coaches and captains went to Liverpool’s Spanish striker Fernando Torres.

Brazilian Marta made it a hat-trick of women’s awards when she won her third Footballer of the Year title in a row, beating Germany’s Birgit Prinz and Brazilian Cristiane with second and third places.

FIFA also awarded a development award to the Palestinian Football Federation for having maintained, under difficult circumstances, their football organisation and their national team.

The FIFA presidential award went to women’s football in recognition of the worldwide development that the sport has undergone.

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