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Triple treasure
Frenchman Zinedine Zidane of Real Madrid won the 2003 FIFA World Player of the Year award on Monday -- the third time he has collected the prestigious accolade.
Monday, 15 December 2003


He earned 264 points from the votes cast by 142 national team coaches to beat off the challenges of French teammate Thierry Henry of Arsenal and his Real Madrid clubmate Ronaldo of Brazil, last year's winner.

Zidane was voted in first place by 35 coaches, Henry was voted first by 21 coaches and collected 186 points while Ronaldo was voted first by 26 coaches for a total of 176 points.

"It doesn't matter how many times you win an award, it is always very special," said Zidane, "and it is even more special when it is voted by the coaches. It is a major honor for me and I am very proud to have won it."

Zidane's success in the prestigious event means he equals Ronaldo's feat in winning the award three times, the only three-time winners since it began in 1991.

It also represents a hat trick for Real Madrid following Luis Figo's victory in 2001 and Ronaldo last year.

Zidane, then with Juventus, was winner in 1998, when he won the World Cup with France, and again in 2000, when France won the European Championship. Ronaldo won the award in 1996, 1997 and 2002.

Henry was a popular pre-event favourite to break Real Madrid's grip on this prize and to become the first player from an English club to be the world player of the year. The 13 awards have now been won seven times by Italian clubs and six times by Spanish clubs.

Pavel Nedved of the Czech Republic and Juventus was fourth with 158 points and Roberto Carlos of Brazil and Real Madrid sixth with 105.

Ruud van Nistelrooy of Manchester United and the Netherlands was sixth and David Beckham of Real Madrid and England was seventh ahead of his club-mate Spaniard Raul and Italian Paolo Maldini who captained AC Milan to their European Cup triumph this year.

The winner of the FIFA women's world player of the year was Birgit Prinz of Germany.

Celtic won FIFA's Fair Play Award for the behaviour of their supporters throughout their run to the UEFA Cup final last season and especially for their sportsmanship following their defeat to Porto in the final in Seville.

The Iraqi football community was awarded the Presidential Award.
- Reuters



---------------------------------------------------------------------- Awards  

Results by Player



Zinedine Zidane 264
Thierry Henry 186
Ronaldo 176
Pavel Nedved 158
Roberto Carlos 105
Ruud van Nistelrooij 86
David Beckham 74
Raśl Gonzalez 39
Paolo Maldini 37
Andriy Shevchenko 26


* France Football Golden Ball

* World Soccer Awards

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