Cristiano Ronaldo crowned
FIFA's awards for 2008 were handed out at a gala ceremony at the Zurich Opera House on 12 January 2009. Cristiano Ronaldo picked up his first FIFA World Player of the Year award on the men's side with Barcelona and Argentina gem Lionel Messi finishing second in the voting and Spain and Liverpool's Fernando Torres rounding out the top three finishers.
On the women's side of things, Brazilian genius Marta picked up her third FIFA Women's World Player of the Year Award on the trot with Germany's Birgit Prinz coming in second and Marta's Brazil teammate Cristiane finishing in third.
The first FIFA Development award was scooped by The Palestinian Football Federation, The FIFA Presidential Award went to Women's Football in general. The FIFA Fair Play Award was handed out to the President and team captain of the Turkish Football Association, Mahmut Ã–zgener and Tuncay Sanli respectively, as well as their counterparts at the Football Federation of Armenia, President Ruben Hayrapetyan and team captain Sargis Hovsepyan.
Ronaldo: It's every player's dream
There is little left to be said about Cristiano Ronaldo and certainly few superlatives yet to be attached to this dazzling and irrepressible winger. At just 23, the Manchester United and Portugal star already has the world at his feet, and he was back to his brilliant best yesterday in the Red Devils' 3-0 win over Chelsea.
Ronaldo had, of course, set the most demanding of benchmarks for himself during a remarkable 2007/08 that encompassed 42 goals and innumerable outstanding performances as United clinched a double of domestic and European titles. By the time the FIFA Club World Cup was added in December, Ronaldo's contribution had been honoured with the European Golden Shoe, Ballon d'Or and FIFPro Player of the Year awards.
There is, however, one honour that Ronaldo has yet to lay his hands on, and he made it clear today that the FIFA World Player award is one that he is desperate to claim.
As he told FIFA.com: "It's a great honour to be here along the best footballers in the world. Every player has the dream to win this award. I'm still young and to be here [at the Gala] for the second time, that's amazing.
"2008 was a great year, individually and, most importantly, collectively. We have won the Premier League, the Champions League and the Club World Cup. I also scored many beautiful goals last and I gladly remember the ones against Portsmouth, Roma, West Ham or Bolton."
Ronaldo, who missed out to Kaka in the running for last year's FIFA World Player Award, also insisted that there is no chance of him resting on his laurels having achieved global renown so early in his career.
"I'm still ambitious," he said. "I want to carry on and get better and better, even though it's hard to achieve that. My ambition is huge."