The Enigma, called Ronaldinho!
Barcelona playmaker Ronaldinho has been named the 2005 European Footballer of the Year.
The Brazilian edged out English duo Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard to win the 50th edition of France Football magazine’s prestigious Ballon D’Or award at a gala ceremony in Paris.
Ronaldinho, named FIFA World Player of the Year in December, finished third in the running in 2004 behind winner Andriy Shevchenko of AC Milan and his Barcelona team-mate Deco.
The 25-year-old becomes the fifth Barca player to pick up the award, which is voted for by European football journalists, since Blackpool’s Stanley Matthews won the inaugural Ballon D’Or in 1956.
Luis Suarez was the first Barca player to achieve the feat in 1960 before Johan Cruyff picked up back-to-back awards in 1973 and 1974. Hristo Stoichkov was the next Barca star to win the title in 1994 and Ronaldinho’s compatriot Rivaldo also claimed the honour in 1999 – four years after it was opened up to non-European players.
The clear favourite for the award, Ronaldinho was the overwhelming winner, his 225 points dwarfing Chelsea’s Lampard (148) and Liverpool’s Gerrard (142). They in turn were well clear of Arsenal’s Thierry Henry, who repeated last year’s fourth place with 41 points. The 2004 winner Shevchenko finished fifth on 33 points, one of three AC Milan players in the top 10, along with Paolo Maldini and Kaka.
The young man is obviously writing his name in the history books as one of the best players to ever kick the round leather ball. His skills caught my eyes during the World Youth Championships (Nigeria ’99) despite the poor performance of the Brazillian team. He still stood out and that was the begginning of an illustrious career.
He played for PSG in France before moving on to Spanish giants, Barcelona where he is fast turning into a legend. No doubt, there won’t be much competition when the next World footballer of the year is announced.
Well done man!