Brazilian football star Ronaldinho has been named FIFPro world player of the year for the second straight time. FIFPro is the international soccer players’ organization, so fellow professionals vote for the award.
Ronaldinho led Spain’s FC Barcelona to the Euro Champions League title last season, beating England’s Arsenal 2-1 in the final. The midfielder was to be presented FIFPro the award at a ceremony Monday in Athens, but it was canceled after a dispute between the Greek government and an English commercial partner involved in organizing the event.
FIFPro said winners would be presented their awards at their own clubs "as soon as possible and in a way that will show the most respect for the winners."
Among other awards, FIFPro said that Cameroon international Samuel Eto’o was given the Merit Award for his commitment to Africa and African football and for his stance against racism in football. Barcelona was given the Players for Peace award for its decision to use its shirt advertising space to promote the work of UNICEF.
The Brazilian has been criticized after Brazil lost to France in the World Cup quarterfinals. last August in Germany and he was blamed again for a slow start this season at Barcelona.
The rest of FIFPro’s World IX included goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon; defenders Fabio Cannavaro, Gianluca Zambrotta, Lilian Thuram and John Terry; midfielders Zinedine Zidane, Andrea Pirlo and Kaká; and forwards Samuel Eto’o and Thierry Henry.
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