Fabio Cannavaro and Marta have been crowned FIFA World Player and FIFA Women’s World Player respectively for the year 2006. This distinction, a first for each, was bestowed upon the two outstanding players at the 16th FIFA World Player Gala in the Zurich Opera House on 18 December 2006. The Italian was taking part in a FIFA World Player Gala for the first time ever, whereas the Brazilian was putting in her third successive appearance, after coming second in 2005 and third in 2004.

Cannavaro’s triumph is due to his outstanding performances as captain and defensive stalwart of world champions Italy at the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™. The winner reaped 498 points in the vote, in which 165 national coaches and 165 national team captains took part. France’s Zinedine Zidane – FIFA Player of the Year in 1998, 2000 und 2003 – was runner-up with 454 points, and last year’s winner Ronaldinho from Brazil, who has already triumphed twice in a row, came in third with 380 points.

Among the women, 20-year-old Marta, with 475 points, recorded a comfortable lead over two newcomers – Kristine Lilly (388) from the USA and Renate Lingor (305) from Germany. A total of 147 national coaches and 147 team captains took part in the vote. An overview of the results can be found on www.FIFA.com .

Further awards were conferred at this year’s FIFA World Player Gala, which was hosted by former Dutch football star Ruud Gullit and American television presenter Amanda McLane and broadcast live or as a delayed transmission to no fewer than 144 countries around the world. The FIFA Presidential Award was awarded posthumously to the former player and chairman of Inter Milan, Giacinto Facchetti, who died earlier this year. The annual FIFA Fair Play Award went to all the fans at the FIFA World Cup™. Honours were conferred on several other prizewinners of the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™ –  the competition’s FIFA Fair Play Award went to the Brazilian and Spanish teams, the adidas Golden, Siver and Bronze Shoe to Miroslav Klose, Hernán Crespo and Ronaldo respectively as the top goalscorers, and the adidas Golden, Silver and Bronze Ball to Zidane, Cannavaro and Andrea Pirlo as the World Cup’s best players.

During the media conference held before the FIFA World Player Gala, long-time Dutch international Edgar Davids presented his 17-year-old compatriot, Andries Smit, with a trophy for winning the third FIFA Interactive World Cup on 9 December.

The motto of the FIFA World Player Gala was Football meets Mozart – in celebration of the birth, 250 years ago, of world-famous composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – and several of his compositions were sung by top-notch stars to the accompaniment of the Zurich Opera House orchestra. 

The same day, Brazil were declared Team of the Year for 2006 in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, followed by Italy and Argentina. Italy won The Best Mover of the Year stakes, ahead of Germany and France. 

Further information from:      

FIFA Media Department Tel.: +41-43/222 7272 – Fax : +41-43/222 7373, E-mail: media@fifa.org

FIFA Communications Division / Zurich, 18 December 2006 / 2006-172-FIFAWorldPlayer-E.doc