Fabio Cannavaro wins FIFA player of the year award

Fabio Cannavaro added another accolade to his collection Monday, winning FIFA's world player of the year award.

The 33-year-old defender, who led Italy to the World Cup title and also was voted the best player in Europe, won with 498 points.

Zinedine Zidane, who took the World Cup's top player award despite receiving a red card in the final for head-butting Marco Materazzi in extra time, was second with 454 points. Ronaldinho was third with 380 points.

"I would like to dedicate this award to Italian football," Cannavaro said. "Everyone knows that we have had problems, and this should be a moment of rebirth for Italian football."

Cannavaro is regarded as one of the best center backs in the game. In August, he took over Zidane's No. 5 shirt at Real Madrid after leaving Juventus following their demotion to the second division because of Italy's match-fixing scandal.

Before moving to Juventus, Cannavaro spent seven years with Parma, where he won the UEFA Cup, and two seasons with Inter Milan.

Cannavaro is only the second Italian to win the FIFA award Roberto Baggio took it in 1993.

Zidane, who has won the FIFA award three times, retired from soccer after playing for France in the World Cup final. The 34-year-old midfielder won the 1998 World Cup and the 2000 European Championship with France, plus several league and European titles with Juventus and Real Madrid.

Asked whether he had finally made peace with Materazzi over the World Cup incident, Zidane said "I don't know him," but that he was on good terms with "all Italians."

Ronaldinho missed out on a hat trick of player of the year awards. The Brazil playmaker won the title in 2004 and 2005, and another victory would have put him equal with Zidane and Ronaldo for the most awards since their creation in 1991.

But the 26-year-old's disappointing World Cup performance overshadowed his success with FC Barcelona in the Spanish league and the European Champions League.

"There are good moments in life, and less good moments. And we had less good moments in some competitions (this year)," Ronaldinho said.

Marta of Brazil captured the women's award with 475 points, finishing ahead of Kristine Lilly of the United States with 388 and Renate Lingor of Germany with 305.

Earlier, FIFA honored Brazil as the best team for the fifth year in a row. Italy was second, followed by Argentina.

A visibly moved Marta, who was twice runner-up in the awards, said she thanked God for "for everything I have been able to achieve so far."

"I don't feel much pressure. I just want to keep playing at my level," said Marta, who was prevented from competing in the U20 Women's World Championship in Russia ealier this year by her Swedish club Umea IK.

The 20-year old was on the Brazilian side which reached the Olympic final in 2004 before being beaten by the United States.

In 2005 Marta finished second behind Germany's Birgit Prinz, who was not among the three finalists this year, reports AP.

Other honors awarded Monday included the Fair Play prize, which went to the fans of this year's World Cup in Germany; the Yashin Award for the best goalkeeper to Italy's Gianluigi Buffon; and the FIFA President's Award to former Internazionale legend Giacinto Facchetti, who died in September.

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