Zurich, December 19:
Fabio Cannavaro added another accolade to his collection on Monday, winning FIFAâ€™s world player of the year award.
The 33-year-old defender, who led Italy to the World Cup title and also was voted the best player in Europe, won with 498 points. Zinedine Zidane, who took the World Cupâ€™s top player award despite receiving a red card in the final for head-butting Marco Materazzi in injury time, was second with 454 points. Ronaldinho was third with 380 points.
Before the official announcement, the Italian also took a swipe at those who doubted his ability to lead the national team to glory before the World Cup. â€œIt is important for me to be here on the podium, among the last three. It has proved that what some people have said about me isnâ€™t true,â€ he said.
Cannavaro is regarded as one of the best center backs in the game. In August, he took over Zidaneâ€™s No 5 shirt at Real Madrid after leaving Juventus following their demotion to the second division.
Before moving to Juventus, Cannavaro spent seven years with Parma, where he won the UEFA Cup, and two seasons with Inter Milan. Cannavaro is only the second Italian to win the FIFA award â€” Roberto Baggio took it in 1993.
Zidane, who has won the FIFA award three times, retired from soccer after playing for France in the World Cup final.
Ronaldinho missed out on a hat trick of player of the year awards. The Brazilian won the title in 2004 and 2005, and another victory would have put him equal with Zidane and Ronaldo for the most awards since their creation in 1991.
But the 26-year-oldâ€™s disappointing World Cup performance overshadowed his success with FC Barcelona in the Spanish league and the European Champions League. â€œThere are good moments in life, and less good moments. And we had less good moments in some competitions (this year),â€ Ronaldinho said.
Marta of Brazil captured the womenâ€™s award, finishing ahead of Kristine Lilly of the United States and Renate Lingor of Germany. Earlier, FIFA honored Brazil as the best team for the fifth year in a row. Italy was second, followed by Argentina.