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Last Updated: Tuesday December 02 2008 06:52 GMT

Ronaldo is best player in Europe

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo has something to celebrate after a bad weekend, being named European Footballer of the Year.

The Manchester United star was sent off on Sunday against rivals Manchester City, but was still picked as the best footballer in Europe.

Ronaldo bagged 42 goals for United last season, as they won the Premier League and the Champions League.

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi was second and Liverpool striker Fernando Torres was third.

He is the first Premier League player to win the award since 2001, when Michael Owen took the prize.

Cristiano Ronaldo is sent off for Manchester United
Cristiano Ronaldo is sent off for Manchester United
The European Footballer of the Year is chosen by a football magazine from France, and is picked by 96 football journalists.

Ronaldo told the magazine: "I am only 23 years old and it is splendid, incredible.

"There were other great names this year. I see that Lionel Messi finished second and Fernando Torres third, but also (fifth-placed) Xavi...all these people could have taken the trophy and I won it."