Fernandez wins honour
By Patricio Figueroa
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Villarreal's Matias Fernandez has been named South American Player of the Year.
Villarreal midfielder Matias Fernandez has been named South American Player of the Year for 2006.
The Chile international, who completed his move to Spain with The Yellow Submarines from Colo-Colo, claimed the annual prize that is presented by Uruguayan newspaper El Pais with 63 votes.
Fernandez finished ahead of Boca Juniors striker Rodrigo Palacio and recent Real Madrid signing Fernando Gago in the balloting.
He is only the third Chilean player to win award, having joined Marcelo Salas (1997) and three-time winner Elias Figueroa (1974, 75 and 76) in claiming the honour.
Villarreal boss Manuel Pellegrini believes Fernandez's January arrival will compliment Juan Roman Riquelme in midfield.
"I hope that Matias receives a warm welcome, but he doesn't have to feel pressure because he hasn't arrived at Villarreal to save anyone," said Pellegrini.
"If he feels too much pressure, then he is not going to be able to show what everyone says he is.
"I think that next to Riquelme, he is going to play very well because the players that have good quality get a quick understanding."