The Brazilian's instinctive finishing took her to the adidas Bronze Ball award at China 2007. But there is more to Cristiane's game than just goals. The left-footed finisher has pace and power aplenty and a sharp tactical brain to boot. All of which makes her the ideal footballing package.

And just hours before receiving more deserved recognition at the Zurich Opera House, she found time for an exclusive chat with This is the first time you have been a finalist at the Gala. How does it feel?
Cristiane: I'm very happy to be here. I never thought I would be competing with Marta and Birgit Prinz, and for me it's a great honour to be alongside two such fantastic players.

What do you think about your rivals at the Gala?
I think they are both very high-quality players. Prinz is the stronger and more technical of the two, whereas Marta has got a lot of pace above all and bags of skill. In my view they're two superb players who have taken the women's game to a higher plane.

Who are you going to dedicate your award to tonight?
To all my family and my friends. It's for everyone who put their faith in me, who stuck by my side and supported and helped me all the way.

This award is recognition for a whole year's work. What was the highlight of 2007 for you?
For me it has to be the World Cup in China. It was my second World Cup and this time I had the chance to play. What's more I was also voted the third best player of the tournament so it's obviously been a great year for me. I hope 2008 will be even better.

What are your hopes for next year?
Naturally we want to go on to bigger and better things. The Olympic Games are coming up next year and that's our main objective, not just for me but for all my team-mates in the national side. And of course, we're hoping we can win the gold medal at long last.

Going back to the FIFA Women's World Cup, if you had to choose one highlight from the tournament, what would it be?
There's no doubt it would have to be the game against USA. It was a tremendously exciting match. We went into the game quietly confident because of the team we had, but after 90 minutes even we were surprised with the result we achieved. We did a perfect job and everything worked out for us.

After China 2007, you left Germany and returned to your home country to play in the Brazilian Women's Cup. How did the tournament go?
I think it was a good start for Brazilian women's football. The game needed that kind of boost because we don't have any support or help at all. The cup was a great opportunity and although my team wasn't able to take part in the end, I hope it will lead on to the start of a league competition for all female Brazilian players next year.

What was the standard like?
I think it was a good tournament. There were some good sides and a lot of players from the Brazil team. I do think they should open it up to more teams, though.

What are your plans for the future?
I'd like to try my luck abroad again. There are still a lot of obstacles in Brazil and if the league were stronger I would stay. Right now though, I'm looking to move. I don't really mind where. I'm just looking for a team that can offer me a good opportunity.