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Last Updated: Monday, 20 December, 2004, 19:06 GMT
Ronaldinho wins Fifa player award
Ronaldinho receives his award from Fifa president Sepp Blatter
2003: Zidane (Real Madrid)
2002: Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
2001: Figo (Real Madrid)
2000: Zidane (Juventus)
1999: Rivaldo (Barcelona)
1998: Zidane (Juventus)
1997: Ronaldo (Inter Milan)
1996: Ronaldo (Barcelona)
1995: Weah (AC Milan)
1994: Romario (Barcelona)
1993: Baggio (Juventus)
1992: Van Basten (AC Milan)
1991: Matthaeus (Inter Milan)
Barcelona's Brazilian forward Ronaldinho has won the Fifa 2004 World Player of the Year award.

The 24-year-old edged out Arsenal's Thierry Henry and AC Milan striker Andriy Shevchenko to the prize.

Ronaldinho won the vote - by coaches and captains from international sides - with 620 points, while Henry had 552 and Shevchenko accumulated 253.

"Just to be here brings me great joy. It is a great victory, as I have never been a great scorer," said Ronaldinho.

"But we all play in our own way and each of the three nominees deserved to win. I'm even more happy now that I have won.

"I must thank my Barcelona colleagues because I could not have won it without them."

Women's player: Birgit Prinz
Most improved team: China
Team of the year: Brazil
It was the second successive year that Henry has finished as runner-up in the poll based on the verdict of 157 international coaches and, for the first time this year, 145 national team captains.

Five points were awarded for a first place nomination, three for second and one for third. Ronaldinho gained 89 first place votes, Henry 79 and Shevchenko 34.

Last year's winner Zinedine Zidane of Real Madrid, who announced his international retirement from the France team after Euro 2004, came fourth.

Juventus and Czech Republic midfielder Pavel Nedved, last year's European Footballer of the Year finished fifth.

Germany's Birgit Prinz won the women's award, ahead of American Mia Hamm and Brazilian youngster Marta.

Ronaldinho was quick to hail Henry and Shevchenko after collecting his award.

He also dismissed weekend speculation linking him with a move to Chelsea.

He added: "I am of course very happy to have won the award. Thierry Henry and Andriy Shevchenko are two great players, we could all have won the award.

"I feel very happy where I am at Barcelona and I will go on with my work in peace.

"Every day that goes by, I feel happy with my choice of club. Every day brings a beautiful new surprise for me."

ERIKSSON: Henry, Deco, Nedved
BECKHAM: Henry, Ronaldo, Zidane
CARLOS ALBERTO: V Nistelrooy, Henry, Ballack
CAFU: Maldini, Henry, Shevchenko
DOMENECH: Drogba, Shevchenko, Larsson
VIEIRA: Shevchenko, Ronaldinho, Adriano
REHHAGEL: Ronaldinho, Henry, Nedved
ZAGORAKIS: Ronaldinho, Nedved, Shevchenko

Barca team-mate Giovanni van Bronckhorst told BBC Sport he thought Ronaldinho was a deserved winner of the prize.

"He's so skilful with the ball and so fast and strong, you'd much rather play with him than against him," said Van Bronckhorst.

"He is very important to us, he is like the crown jewels. He is the face of this team, like Henry is Arsenal's."

Henry, who wore a Che Guevara T-shirt and a black-and-white wristband to make a stand against racism, admitted disappointment for not winning the trophy, but paid tribute to his two rivals.

He said: "If you do not win you cannot say you are happy but the other two are tremendous players.

"When you see what Shevchenko is doing in Serie A and Ronaldinho in Spain, they are the kind of players who make you jump off your seat.

"To be here two years in a row means I have been consistent for a long time and that really pleases me."

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15 Dec 03 |  Football

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