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Ronaldo wins world players' award

Man Utd star Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo was in unstoppable form last season

Manchester United and Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo has been named FifPro World Footballer of the Year, beating 54 other top players on the shortlist.

The honour, voted for by professional footballers from all over the world, was widely expected after Ronaldo scored 42 goals for United last season.

Ronaldo was also named in the FifPro team of the year, alongside his United team-mate Rio Ferdinand.

"To be recognised by my fellow players is amazing," said the 23-year-old.

"I would like to thank my team-mates and coaches and everyone involved at United and the national team, as well as my family and friends for their support."

Liverpool's Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres and Chelsea and England captain John Terry also made the team, along with AC Milan midfielder Kaka and Barcelona star Lionel Messi.

Ronaldo, who was the driving force behind United's Premier League and Champions League double last season, is also a strong contender to win the Fifa World Player of the Year award and the Ballon d'Or.

The number of goals he scored last year was absolutely phenomenal

Sir Alex Ferguson on Ronaldo
He was linked with a move to Real Madrid during the summer but the winger is looking to put that episode behind him, while revealing United boss Sir Alex Ferguson was the major factor behind his decision to stay.

"Sir Alex has been a big inspiration to me," he said. "He believed in me enough to buy me. I have learned so many things from him and I am continuing to learn because he is a great manager.

"Of course, he was the main factor in keeping me here. But what happened in the summer is finished. Now my head is on the club. My focus is solely on playing well for Manchester United and winning the Premier League and Champions League again."

Ronaldo has three goals to his name this season after missing the start of the campaign through injury, but Ferguson has backed the star to come good.

"I still think he will beat 25," said Ferguson. "It is going to be difficult because he has had a stop-start beginning to the season.

"He had the operation on his ankle so he has missed a few games and he is just getting his rhythm back.

"The number of goals he scored last year was absolutely phenomenal. But I hope he can be equally as good this year in terms of his contribution to the team."

The original 55-man FifPro shortlist included Terry, Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, Wayne Rooney and Cesc Fabregas.

FifPro is the worldwide representative organisation for professional football players, with more than 57,500 members.

FifPro World XI:

Goalkeeper: Iker Casillas (Spain/Real Madrid)

Defenders: Sergio Ramos (Spain/Real Madrid); John Terry (England/Chelsea); Carles Puyol (Spain/ Barcelona); Rio Ferdinand (England/Manchester United)

Midfielders: Steven Gerrard (England/Liverpool); Xavi (Spain/Barcelona); Kaka (Brazil/AC Milan).

Forwards: Lionel Messi (Argentina/Barcelona); Fernando Torres (Spain/Liverpool); Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal/Manchester United)

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see also
Kaka wins world players' accolade
05 Oct 07 |  Football
Ronaldo secures PFA awards double
22 Apr 07 |  Football
England trio on Euro award list
19 Oct 08 |  Europe

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