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Last Updated: Monday, 28 November 2005, 19:44 GMT
Ronaldinho scoops European award
Brazil and Barcelona playmaker Ronaldinho
To be here with all those great players applauding me is a dream come true
Ballon D'Or winner Ronaldinho
Barcelona and Brazil playmaker Ronaldinho was named 2005 European Footballer of the Year on Monday.

The 25-year-old was favourite to claim the Ballon D'Or, having already won the 2004 Fifa World Player of the Year and the inaugural FIFpro award.

The Ballon D'Or is widely accepted to be the highest accolade available to a player plying his trade in Europe.

Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard came second, while Liverpool's Steven Gerrard finished third.

Arsenal striker Thierry Henry was fourth in the voting, followed by AC Milan and Ukraine forward Andriy Shevchenko, who won last year.

"To be here with all those great players applauding me is a dream come true," said Ronaldinho after receiving the golden ball trophy at a ceremony in Paris attended by several former winners.

"This gives me motivation to keep working and try to emulate them.

2005 BALLON D'OR RESULTS
1. Ronaldinho (Barcelona)
2. Frank Lampard (Chelsea)
3. Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)
4. Thierry Henry (Arsenal)
5. Andriy Shevchenko (AC Milan)
6. Paolo Maldini (AC Milan)
7. Adriano (Inter Milan)
8. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Juventus)
9. Kaka (AC Milan)
10= Samuel Eto'o (Barcelona)
10= John Terry (Chelsea)
"I have the chance to do for a living what I like the most in life, and that's playing football. I can make people happy and enjoy myself at the same time."

Ronaldinho was instrumental in helping Barcelona to clinch their first Primera Liga title since 1999 last season, scoring nine goals and providing many more.

His form this season seems to be even more impressive with another great goal in Sunday's win over Racing Santander seeing him match last year's entire league haul after just 12 games.

He even earned a standing ovation from members of the Bernabeu crowd in Barcelona's 3-0 win at bitter rivals Real Madrid little over a week ago - an honour only previously bestowed on a Barca player when Argentina legend Diego Maradona played there in the 1980s.

He has also been a key figure for Brazil, helping the world champions top the South American qualifying group.

Ronaldinho is the third Brazilian to win the award for performances at Barcelona, after Ronaldo in 1997 and Rivaldo in 1999.

Ronaldo, who also won in 2002, had left the Nou Camp for Inter Milan when he picked up his first award.

The Ballon D'Or is voted for by European football journalists selected by French magazine France Football.

The award celebrated its 50th anniversary in Paris on Monday night and was first won by Stanley Matthews while he was at Blackpool in 1956.

Manchester United trio Denis Law, Bobby Charlton and George Best all won the prize, respectively in 1964, 1966 and 1968.

Kevin Keegan won in 1978 and 1979 and Michael Owen was the last English winner, for his displays at Liverpool in 2001.


Previous winners of the Ballon D'Or:

1956 - Stanley Matthews
1957 - Alfredo Di Stefano
1958 - Raymond Kopa
1959 - Alfredo Di Stefano
1960 - Luis Suarez
1961 - Omar Sivori
1962 - Josef Masopust
1963 - Lev Yachine
1964 - Denis Law
1965 - Eusebio
1966 - Bobby Charlton
1967 - Florian Albert
1968 - George Best
1969 - Gianni Rivera
1970 - Gerd Muller
1971 - Johan Cruyff
1972 - Franz Beckenbauer
1973 - Johan Cruyff
1974 - Johan Cruyff
1975 - Oleg Blokhin
1976 - Franz Beckenbauer
1977 - Alan Simonsen
1978 - Kevin Keegan
1979 - Kevin Keegan
1980 - Karl-Heinz Rummenigge
1981 - Karl-Heinz Rummenigge
1982 - Paolo Rossi
1983 - Michel Platini
1984 - Michel Platini
1985 - Michel Platini
1986 - Igor Belanov
1987 - Ruud Gullit
1988 - Marco Van Basten
1989 - Marco Van Basten
1990 - Lothar Matthaus
1991 - Jean-Pierre Papin
1992 - Marco Van Basten
1993 - Roberto Baggio
1994 - Hristo Stoichkov
1995 - George Weah
1996 - Matthias Sammer
1997 - Ronaldo
1998 - Zinedine Zidane
1999 - Rivaldo
2000 - Luis Figo
2001 - Michael Owen
2002 - Ronaldo
2003 - Pavel Nedved
2004 - Andrei Shevchenko
2005 - Ronaldinho



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