Barcelona player Ronaldinho has once again been voted the best player in the world by his own colleagues.

His first reaction was to thank the players who voted for him and his colleagues at Barcelona. The World Cup dominated the voting. No less than seven players from the FIFPro World XI played in the World Cup final between Italy and France.

In the past few months, 43,000 players from around the world had been invited to vote for who they thought were the best players of the 2005-2006 season. The large number of votes, and the fact that the players themselves are the ones doing the voting, have already made the FIFPro World XI Award one of the most highly-valued prizes in football.

Worldwide, the players unanimously chose Gianluigi Buffon as goalkeeper. Fabio Cannavaro leads the defence of the FIFPro World XI, together with fellow Italian Gianluca Zambrotta, Frenchman Lilian Thuram and Chelsea captain John Terry, who was also chosen for the team last year.

Zinedine Zidane was again selected for the midfield. New to the team were the world champion Andrea Pirlo and the Brazilian Kaká.

Champions League winners Samuel Eto’o and Ronaldinho were selected in attack (they were both also in the team last season), along with Arsenal striker Thierry Henry.

The World XI, as voted by Australian players is Buffon as goalkeeper; Cannavaro, Terry, Neill and Zambrotta in defence; Gerrard, Kaka and Lampard in midfield and a strikeforce of Henry, Ronaldinho and Eto’o.  Australia’s players agreed with the rest of the world in voting Ronhaldinho as World Player of the Year.

Apart from the eleven names for the FIFPro World XI, each player also voted for the player he considered to have been the very best in the past season. As was the case last season, Ronaldinho received the most votes for this award. His first reaction was to thank the players who voted for him and his colleagues at Barcelona. ‘This is a huge honour and also provides important motivation to keep striving for future progress.’
Lionel Messi won the ASPIRE Young FIFPro Player Player’s Award and Cristiano Ronaldo the ASPIRE Young Player Fan Award.

The FIFPro Merit Award, for a player who made an exceptional and positive contribution to the sport of football was awarded to Samuel Eto’o. In addition to thrilling millions of football fans with his talented play last season, Cameroonian Eto’o continually emphasised his commitment to Africa and African football, and distinguished himself by courageous and inspiring actions against racism in football.

Finally, the FIFPro Players for Peace Award was given to Barcelona. The club showed its social commitment in a unique way by giving up its shirt advertisement space to Unicef, instead of selling it off to the highest bidder.”