Before the results were announced, the three nominees for the FIFA World Player of the Year gave a press conference at which they expressed their delight at being on the rostrum. With the FIFA World Cup™ draw uppermost in many minds plus the forthcoming Chelsea-Barcelona clash there were plenty of interesting points made by the top three in 2005.
On being among the best in the world
Samuel Eto'o: It's the dream of any player to be the best in the world. But to be No. 1 you have to play in a great team. You must remember that the team is more important than the individual. I play with (Carles) Puyol and Ronaldinho just to mention two - all my team-mates help me. When you consider there are more than two million footballers in the world, it would be so exciting to win the award. But just to be here with these two is great. I remember getting up at 3am, 4am to buy fish, now I have all this through football - I want to share it with my team-mates and even the opposition players.
Frank Lampard: I'm very proud to be here. It was my ambition to get to the top, but it seemed a long way away when I was younger. When I started as 17-year-old at West Ham United I was criticised because my uncle was the manager (Harry Redknapp) and my father was the assistant (Frank Lampard). This made me a stronger person and a stronger player - it's taken me ten years to answer the criticism through very hard work in training and playing.
Ronaldinho: I am very happy to be here with two great players. I'm also happy to be representing my club with my colleague Samuel Eto'o. Any of the three of us could win, it's a dream come true for all of us. It's fantastic to come back after winning the award last year, I hope to come back many more times.
On being favourites for the FIFA World Cup
Ronaldinho: Being one of the favourites doesn't really help but it's not an obstacle either. You have to prepare properly for a World Cup. Everyone has to be in peak condition to deliver.
On missing out on the FIFA World Cup finals
Samuel Eto'o: To be a great man in life you must rise above disappointments. It is a blow but we have to get over it. We only got 13 points which wasn't enough but we beat Cote D'Ivoire who qualified. At least we know we gave our best.
On the Chelsea-Barcelona clash in the UEFA Champions League
Frank Lampard: My girlfriend's family supports Barcelona but she supports me! This is a fantastic opportunity for both teams. I'm really looking forward to it. The top team in England against the top team in Spain. I enjoyed the games immensely last year - of course it's always better if you win - but it's great to test yourself against top players. It was fantastic to win last year, but we've lost in the semi-finals for two years running now so we're desperate to win. We'd like to take a good lead from the home leg to the Nou Camp.
Ronaldinho: I'm looking forward to a really great match. Both teams are playing at a really high level. It could be the match of the year - we're motivated and we want to be in the best shape for the game. Frank speaks good Spanish but we haven't talked about the match yet.
Samuel Eto'o: I'm hoping both teams can play at the level they played in last year or even higher. I hope Barcelona can be lucky this time.
On Women's football
Samuel Eto'o: Women's football is becoming more important. Barcelona has a women's section and I'm watching it closely. We have 'Marigoles' (Maribel Dominguez) - one of the best players in the world. Women can do many things in the same fields as men.
Frank Lampard: I have the utmost respect for women footballers, and I'm paying them more and more attention as the game is improving as a spectacle. We've just met three of the best in the world and they deserve as much respect as the three of us.
Ronaldinho: I love women's football. In Barcelona we have girls playing to a very high level. I hope the three women contenders are proud to take in such an event as this. I would like to encourage girls to play by showing my support and appreciation.