Cannavaro claims world prize
By Peter ORourke
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro has been named Fifa World Player of the Year.
Italy's World Cup winning captain Fabio Cannavaro has been named Fifa World Player of the Year.
The Real Madrid defender beat off competition from Barcelona's Ronaldinho and former France captain Zinedine Zidane to the award.
Cannavaro received 498 votes, ahead of 454 for Zidane, while Ronaldino picked up 380 votes in the poll of national team managers and captains.
Cannavaro adds the prize to his prestigious European Footballer of the Year award he received last month.
The 33-year-old is the first defender to win the award in its 16-year history and he was delighted to secure the honour.
"The competition was scary, it was so strong," said Cannavaro.
"After winning the World Cup and the European Footballer of the Year award too, I do not think I can ask for anything else.
"It is not usual for a defender to be sitting alongside Ronaldinho and Zinedine Zidane, who get to do marvellous things all season, so I saw it as a victory just to be here.
"I'd like to thank Fifa, the coaches who have coached me, and everyone who voted for me.
"I also want to thank all my team-mates watching back home - at Juventus and Real Madrid, and also in the national team.
"I just want to thank everybody for this achievement. I'd like to dedicate this to Italian football overall. Everyone knows the problems we had before the World Cup.
"It's time for Italian football to grow up and move on and look forward to the future."
Cannavaro also paid tribute to Zidane, whose number he has inherited at Real Madrid following the Frenchman's retirement after the World Cup.
"When I first came to Real everybody asked me what it meant to be wearing the same shirt," added Cannavaro.
"I can only say now what I said then, it is an honour to wear the same number as such a great player."