The FIFA World Player Gala takes centre stage in the Madrid Congress Centre on 17 December 2002. The best players over the 12 last months will be unmasked during the 90-minute ceremony, to be broadcast around the world from 21.30 CET onwards.

Voting is now closed, with over 70 coaches of national women’s teams having cast their vote as well as more than 140 coaches of men’s national teams. The coaches were asked to name the top three players in their respective game over the course of 2002. Players received five points for a first-place nomination, with positions two and three rewarded with three points and one point respectively.

In the women’s category, the three players with the most votes – listed here in alphabetical order – are: last year’s winner Mia Hamm (USA), Birgit Prinz (Germany) and 2001 runner-up Sun Wen (China). In the men’s vote, the three potential winners, again in alphabetical order, are: Oliver Kahn (Germany) and two stars to have won this accolade on two previous occasions – Ronaldo (Brazil) and Zinedine Zidane (France). Kahn is the first goalkeeper to feature on the shortlist since the introduction of the FIFA World Player of the Year award in 1991. The FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year award will be presented for only the second time.

Last year, Luis Figo (Portugal, 250 points) pipped David Beckham (England, 238) and Raúl Gonzalez (Spain, 96) to the men’s award. Mia Hamm (154 points) took the women’s title ahead of Sun Wen (79) and Tiffeny Milbrett (USA, 47).

A total of 20 trophies and awards will be presented at the FIFA World Player Gala 2002, with the best players at the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan™ honoured. Kahn will receive the adidas Golden Ball for the best player at the event, while Ronaldo will receive the Silver Ball and Hong Myung-Bo the Bronze Ball. Ronaldo will also be presented with the adidas Golden Shoe for top goalscorer, with the Silver Shoe and Bronze Shoe awarded to Rivaldo (Brazil) and Miroslav Klose (Germany) respectively. Kahn will also receive the Lev Yashin Award for best goalkeeper. Korea Republic will receive the accolade for the Most Attractive Team at the 2002 FIFA World Cup™, while Belgium will be awarded the FIFA Fair Play Award.