Rivaldo Vito Barbosa Ferreira was crowned FIFA World Player of the Year 1999 last night at the FIFA Gala in Brussels. A record 140 national team coaches from FIFA’s member national associations took part in the vote, which saw the brilliant Brazilian midfielder claim 543 points, ahead of David Beckham (England, 194 points) and Gabriel Batistuta (Argentina, 79 points).

The Gala, held at the Palais des Congres, saw some of the greats of past and present come together. George Best, Didi, Marco Van Basten and Zico were inducted into the FIFA-supported International Football Hall of Champions, as were Italy and Barcelona in the national team and club categories respectively. In addition, Paul Van Himst was honoured by Foot Magazine/Voetbal Magazine as the Belgian Player of the Century.

They were joined by the stars of the 1999 Women’s World Cup, Sun Wen (China) and Sissi (Brazil), as well as one the revelations of the Confederations Cup, Saudi Arabia’s Al Otaibi Marzouk.

Soccer New Zealand was presented with the 1999 FIFA Fair Play award for the efforts of the country’s football community towards making the U-17 World Championship a resounding success. China and Brazil added further feathers to their cap by receiving the Fair Play awards for the Women’s World Cup and the Confederations Cup respectively.