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Last Updated: Sunday, 2 December 2007, 13:00 GMT
Kaka named Europe's best player
AC Milan's Brazilian star Kaka
AC Milan midfielder Kaka receives the Golden Ball award in Paris
AC Milan's Brazilian star Kaka has been named Europe's footballer of the year after winning France Football magazine's Golden Ball award.

The 25-year-old was the key figure in AC Milan's triumphant Champions League campaign this year.

"This is very special for me - it culminates an astonishing year for me," Kaka said.

Second place went to Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo with Barcelona's Lionel Messi placing third.

606: DEBATE
Chris W

The prize was voted for by 96 international journalists from a shortlist of 50 players.

Kaka succeeds Italy's World Cup winning captain and defender Fabio Cannavaro and comes two years after the last Brazilian winner of the trophy, Barcelona's Ronaldinho.

The Brazilian playmaker was hugely influential in Milan winning the 2007 Champions League, ending as top scorer in the tournament with 10 goals.

"It's the top prize around and the only way to win something like this is to play for a team like AC Milan," he said.

THE KAKA LOWDOWN
Born: April 22, 1982 in Brasilia
Scores 12 goals for Sao Paulo in 27 appearances in 2001
Plays 18 minutes in Brazil's 2002 World Cup triumph
Moves to AC Milan in 2003 spurring them to Italian title with 10 goals
Real Madrid declare interest as Kaka inspires Milan to the 2007 Champions League title

"It's great to be part of a team that wins.

"I won the Champions League and was the competition's top scorer. That's what made the difference with the others.

"That is the key. You have to play in a winning team."

In October Kaka was named FIFPro world player of the year, claiming that accolade after 45,000 members of the players' union voted in the awards.

Kaka is also the favourite to win the World Footballer of the Year award from football's governing body FIFA later this month.

SEE ALSO
Kaka wins Fifa world player crown
01 Dec 07 |  Football
England quartet up for Fifa award
10 Oct 07 |  Football
Kaka wins world players' accolade
05 Oct 07 |  Football
Kaka, Ronaldinho to face Algeria
21 Aug 07 |  Africa Cup of Nations
AC Milan 2-1 Liverpool
23 May 07 |  Europe


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