World’s Best Player Is Brazilian Ronaldinho, Again

Brazilian soccer ace Ronaldinho Gaúcho won his second straight FIFA World Player of the Year award Monday, December 20, beating England’s Frank Lampard and Cameroon’s Samuel Eto’o.

Germany’s Birgit Prinz also was a repeat winner, taking the women’s award for the third straight year.

Ronaldinho won the poll of national team coaches and captains with 956 points, easily outdistancing Lampard, who had 306 points. Eto’o, who plays alongside Ronaldinho at FC Barcelona, came in third with 190 points.

"It’s a huge joy to be able to keep up this high level of performance the last years and I hope to be able to come back here over and over again," Ronaldinho said.

The 25-year-old Brazilian has been in sparkling form for both his club and country over the last 24 months.

In May, Ronaldinho led Barcelona to its first Spanish league title in six years, and his 10 goals this season have helped the Catalan team back to the top of the standings.

He has scored 34 league goals in 82 matches since his arrival from Paris Saint-Germain in 2003, and another 13 in 19 matches against European competition.

But Ronaldinho’s impact over the last two years has meant more than goals. Combining with Eto’o and a host of other newcomers under Dutch coach Frank Rijkaard, Ronaldinho has led Barcelona’s resurgence from an aging and ailing team into one of Europe’s best.

After scoring twice in last month’s 3-0 win over Real Madrid, Ronaldinho was greeted with a standing ovation from even Madrid’s fans. The last Barcelona player to receive such a reception at Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium was Diego Maradona in the early 1980s.

Ronaldinho also spearheaded Brazil’s win in the Confederations Cup, beating rival Argentina in the final.

This article appeared originally in Pravda – www.pravda.ru.

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