Ron favourite for top award
Cristiano Ronaldo is perhaps unsurprisingly the favourite to be named Fifa World Player of the Year.
By Richard Bailey
Last Updated: 11/01/09 4:01pm
Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo is perhaps unsurprisingly the favourite to be named Fifa World Player of the Year on Monday.
Ronaldo has already picked up the FIFPro and Ballon d'Or awards this season and will look to cap an amazing 2007/08 season with arguably the most prestigious award.
Joining the 23-year-old on the five strong shortlist, a change from the usual top three, is Lionel Messi, Fernando Torres, Xavi and Kaka.
After exhausting all the superlatives last season with his 42 goals helping fire United to Premier League and Uefa Champions League glory the Portuguese has justified his favourites tag.
Despite a below par season from Barcelona last term Messi has been in scintillating form this time out helping the Catalans to a healthy lead at the top of La Liga before Christmas.
Spanish duo Fernando Torres and Xavi find themselves in the running thanks to Spain's European Championship victory in the summer, while reigning award holder Kaka remains in contention despite an injury plagued year.
The award is decided with each national team manager and player having one vote each from a shortlist decided by Fifa with the ceremony being held in Zurich on Monday.
Meanwhile, the women's award is also up for grabs with England and Arsenal striker Kelly Smith going up against 2007 and 2008 winner Marta of Brazil and three-time winner Birgit Prinz of Germany.
Smith is the first English female player to even be nominated for the award and will now hope to cap it off by being crowned the worlds best.