Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo has succeeded Kaka as the European Footballer of the Year.
Ronaldo, who scored 42 goals for United last season as they won the Premier League and Champions League beat Lionel Messi of Barcelona in to second place with Liverpool’s Fernando Torres in third.
He joins an exclusive list of previous Ballon d’Or trophy winners who include Ronaldinho, Fabio Cannavaro and Luis Figo.
The 23 year old Portuguese international was delighted with his victory saying:
It is one of the most beautiful days of my life, something I dreamed of as a child. Great emotion fills me but I cannot really describe it.
I was not worried, because I was aware of what I did in the course of the season. But to the people who mentioned my name, I say thank you. Thank you also to my team-mates.
This (trophy) is one that I want to win again because it is so good. Therefore, I will wake and I will say to myself' ‘I want to be even better’.
The Portuguese international became only the fifth player to score more than 30 goals in a Premier League season as United pipped Chelsea to the domestic title. In addition, his tally of 42 goals also earned him the Golden Shoe as Europe’s top scorer.
2008 Ballon d’Or voting
1 Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester Utd) 446 points
2 Lionel Messi (Barcelona) 281 pts
3 Fernando Torres (Liverpool) 179 pts
4 Iker Casillas (Real Madrid) 133 pts
5 Xavi Hernandez (Barcelona) 97 pts
6 Andriy Arshavin (Zenit St-Petersburg) 64 pts
7 David Villa (Valencia) 55 pts
8 Kaka (AC Milan) 31 pts
9 Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Inter Milan) 30 pts
10 Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) 28 pts
11 Marcos Senna (Villarreal) 16 pts
12 Emmanuel Adebayor (Arsenal) 12 pts
13 Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) 11 pts
14 Sergio Aguero (Atletico Madrid) 10 pts
15 Frank Lampard (Chelsea) 8 pts
16 Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich) 7 pts
17 Samuel Eto’o (Barcelona) 6 pts
18 Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus) 5 pts
19 Michael Ballack (Chelsea), Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal) 4 pts
21 Didier Drogba (Chelsea), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United)