Millions of TV viewers throughout Europe and beyond will be watching on Monday evening when the FIFA World Player of the Year for 1998 will be revealed during a star-studded ceremony in Barcelona.
The three candidates for the top individual honour in world football are Ronaldo, the Brazilian who has won the award for each of the past two years; Croatian Davor Suker, the top-scorer at France 98; and Zinedine Zidane, star of the French World Cup team.
They will be seeking to earn the award voted by over 130 national team coaches worldwide, in succession not only to Ronaldo (1996 and 1997) but also George Weah (1995), Romario (1994), 1993 (Roberto Baggio), Marco Van Basten (1992) and Lothar Matthäus (1991).
All three candidates will be on stage at the Teatre Nacional de Catalunya in Barcelona, alongside other world stars such as Rivaldo, Gabriel Batistuta and Michael Laudrup, as well as former greats including Johan Cruyff, Franz Beckenbauer and Michel Platini.
Also included among the three dozen recipients of football’s top awards are Dino Zoff and Gerd Müller, two of the latest legendary figures to be inducted into the International Football Hall of Champions, supported by FIFA. Other inductees include the late manager of Liverpool, Bill Shankly.
The co-host for the evening, the Spanish football magazine Don Balon, will be honouring outstanding individuals and teams of the past 25 years of Spanish football.
Covered by Spain’s TV-3, the event will also be shown throughout Europe on 20 networks including Europsport as well as live on channels including Sky Television, ARD/ZDF and DSF in Germany, and RAI in Italy.
The extended TV coverage is a result of FIFA’s new policy to open up access to FIFA events also for newer European networks, to help promote all levels of football as well as the FIFA World Cup itself. TV distribution in Europe is being handled on FIFA’s behalf by Prisma Sports & Media, and outside Europe by ISL Television.