Gabriel Batistuta (Argentina), David Beckham (England) and Rivaldo (Brazil) are the candidates - in alphabetical order - for the title of FIFA World Player of the Year 1999.

FIFA released the three names today after voting closed on Friday, 10 December. A record number of 140 national team coaches voted for their three best players of 1999.

The winner will be announced at the FIFA World Player Gala, to take place at the Palais des Congrès in Brussels on Monday, 24 January 2000.

This is the ninth edition of FIFA’s prestigious award. Previous winners are: Lothar Matthäus (Germany, 1991), Marco Van Basten (Holland, 1992), Roberto Baggio (Italy, 1993), Romario (Brazil, 1994), George Weah (Liberia, 1995), Ronaldo (Brazil, 1996 and 1997), and Zinedine Zidane (France, 1998).

A number of other awards will be presented during the televised ceremony:

  • Team of the Year (Brazil) and Best Mover of the Year (Slovenia), according to the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking.
  • Fair Play Prize for 1999, awarded to the New Zealand football community.
  • adidas Gold, Silver and Bronze Balls for the best players of the Women’s World Cup USA 99 (Sun Wen, Sissi, Michelle Akers) and the FIFA Confederations Cup Mexico 99 (Ronaldinho, Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Al Otaibi Marzouk).
  • adidas Gold and Bronze Shoes for the top scorers of the Women’s World Cup (Sun Wen and Sissi ex aequo, Ann Kristin Aarones) and the adidas Gold, Silver and Bronze Shoes for the Confederations Cup (Ronaldinho, Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Al Otaibi Marzouk).
  • Fair Play awards for the Women’s World Cup (China PR) and Confederations Cup (Brazil).

In addition, the Gala’s co-hosts will be presenting awards of their own. The International Football Hall of Champions will be welcoming a new group of inductees, including George Best, Didi, Marco Van Basten and Zico.

Belgium’s leading football publication, Foot Magazine/Voetbal Magazine, will also present a award to the best Belgian player of the century.

Note to editors: accreditation request forms for the World Player Gala can be downloaded from www.fifa.com or obtained from the FIFA Media Office, fax +41-1-384 9696.