Before the results were announced, the six nominees gave a press conference, at which they expressed their delight at being on the rostrum. From Marta's tears of emotion to Thierry Henry's laid-back charm, here are a few choice snippets from the words of the six players shortlisted for the supreme title.

Thierry Henry
When I look at what Ronaldinho has done at Barcelona and Andriy in Serie A this year, I am awestruck. But having said that, I can't honestly say that I'll be "happy" if I don't win this trophy. However, the real satisfaction comes from being in the top three two years in a row, as it proves my consistency.

We are setting up an anti-racism campaign entitled "stand-up and speak-up", after everything that's happened in recent weeks. The idea is, for an hour and a half at least, to rise above this phenomenon. Of course, we can't change the way people behave when they go home, but to do nothing at all would be even worse.

Adriano has impressed me this year. He has everything: strength and speed, is frighteningly efficient in front of goal, and makes chances too. But my favourite player is still Marco van Basten, who was everything one could hope for in a striker. I grew up watching him and he was a wonder to behold.

In football, you have to prove yourself in every game. It's true that our elimination in the quarter-finals of EURO 2004 was a massive disappointment, but at the same time, my year with Arsenal has been a great success. But I don't intend to rest on my laurels. I want to do even better next year, if I can.

Ronaldinho
With every passing day, I am happier and happier to have chosen Barcelona. My ambition is to write my name in the club record books as a winner. I have never said that I would like to leave for Chelsea. Let me say again that I am really happy in Catalonia. I'm giving my all for Barca and the club does the same for me, treating me exceptionally well. I have to admit, however, that my two rivals have both been excellent this year, so if they win the trophy, I'll be delighted for them.

I'm joining forces with Thierry for this anti-racism campaign. We want to make the fans realise that this way of thinking should be abandoned. I am therefore 100% behind the campaign.

Unlike both my rivals, I've never been a great goalscorer, so it's already a victory just to be here.

Andriy Shevchenko
I am really thrilled to be here with these two massive stars. I believe that were all in with a chance.

Kaka has impressed me this year. He has come on leaps and bounds recently and I sincerely believe that he will be a great player in the years to come. Like Thierry, I think that Van Basten was a truly great player, a real legend of world football. Following in his footsteps at AC Milan is a tremendous honour.

If I win this trophy, I will be dedicating it to my people and my family. I have come this far for them and thanks to them.

Mia Hamm
It's a great honour to have been nominated. I would like to thank FIFA for its tremendous support for women's football. When I see Marta and Birgit Prinz, I see the future of our sport. They both have such incredible character.

I have loved every minute of my career. My family have always encouraged me to pursue my dreams, and I'd like to thank them for that. And my career would not have been the same without my great team-mates and coaches. But women's football still has a long way to go, which is where Birgit and Marta come in.

I've played against Maribel Dominguez and she's a fantastic player. She's taking on a massive challenge by wanting to play for a men's team, but I believe that she's doing it because she has no other challenges left in her home country. I admire her courage, but she wouldn't have to do it if there were working national female leagues for us women.

Marta
I am so happy to be here, regardless of whether I win or not. It's already a great success to be among the best three players in the world, alongside two such massive stars. I'd like to thank all those who have supported me at the Brazilian federation and everyone who has worked for the good of women's football. My career has scarcely started and yet I'm here, which is very gratifying.

(She is overwhelmed by tears) To be counted among the greats is so emotional for me. When I was a little girl, I used to tell my Mum, "I want to be the best player," and now I'm here.

We achieved great things in Athens, mainly because of out excellent coach, René Simoes. This should help us to raise the profile of women's football in Brazil, where we still have a real shortage of sponsors. Being one of the three nominees will definitely help a little to get media recognition in our country.

Birgit Prinz
I am delighted to be one of the three nominees. Being in the leading trio three times in a row is a distinction in itself. Coming first is not the most important thing, as I'm with two of the best players in the world: Mia is nothing less than a role model for women footballers, while Marta represents the future. If you saw what she did at the U-19 World Championship, you'll know what I'm talking about.

I'm not in favour of mixed sex teams. We need to acknowledge the differences, especially at the physical level, and come to terms with them. In any case, other sports don't have mixed teams.