Ronaldo collects Fifa world title

Ronaldo beat Kaka, Torres, Messi and Xavi to the titleCristiano Ronaldo has been named the Fifa World Player of the Year for 2008.

The Portugal and Manchester United midfielder becomes the first Premier League player to win the award.

Ronaldo, 23, beat AC Milan’s Kaka, Liverpool’s Fernando Torres and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Xavi to the prestigious title.

“It’s an overwhelming moment in my career and I’d like to dedicate this award to my family, friends and colleagues,” said the winger.

Ronaldo’s 42 goals for Manchester United last season helped the Old Trafford club to the Premier League and Champions League double.

The Portugal international, who also picked up the European Player of the Year crown in December and the FifPro World Footballer of the Year honour in October, paid special tribute to United boss Sir Alex Ferguson.

“It’s also true that the manager always has an important role to play. It was a great season for me and for my club, and the coach was important for me because I learned a lot for him.

“His experience over so many years is of paramount importance – it’s a privilege to have such a great club manager.

“This is the climax of a fantastic era for me. I’m happy and proud about what has been done by my team and what we have won.

“I am lucky to be part of the history of a club like Manchester United.”

The coaches and captains of 155 national teams took part in the voting for the award with Messi finishing second ahead of Torres, Kaka and Xavi.

Ronaldo’s triumph sees him become only the second Portuguese player to pick up the Fifa title, following Luis Figo who won the award in 2001.

Meanwhile, Brazil forward Marta collected her third successive women’s award.

“This is an amazing achievement for me,” said the 22-year-old.

“This game has given me so many great moments of joy. This award is fantastic and I’d like to thank you all very much.”

England and Arsenal Ladies striker Kelly Smith was one of the five nominees for the title.