Zidane wins vote for adidas Golden Ball
France playmaker Zinedine Zidane won the adidas Golden Ball voted for by journalists at the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany.
Although his team ultimately failed in their bid to lift the Trophy, Les Bleus' No.10 won the vote for the best player to grace the world stage in Germany. Behind Zizou' came Italy's defensive rock Fabio Cannavaro, with the Juventus defender's Azzurri team-mate Andrea Pirlo completing the podium.
After a less than impressive showing from France in the group phase, Zidane finally got into gear against Spain in the Round of 16, producing a virtually flawless performance to steer his side to a famous win and a place in the last eight.
If there is such a thing as footballing perfection, the midfield maestro surely attained it in the quarter-final showdown with Brazil. His superb passes, magical feints and all-round inspiration took France into the last four, where a solid performance and a clinical penalty helped Les Bleus dispose of Portugal.
In the Final against Italy, he opened the scoring with an audacious spot-kick. Despite his tireless prompting, however, Zidane was unable to pick up the second FIFA World Cup winner's medal of a glittering career and was sent from the field in extra time for butting Marco Materazzi in the chest.
Cannavaro collects Silver Ball
The honour of lifting the coveted FIFA World Cup Trophy fell instead to Cannavaro . The Italy captain was in inspired form throughout the tournament and was the cornerstone of a superbly drilled back-line that conceded only two goals.
Fearsome in the tackle and quick to fill any gap, Cannavaro brought his experience and astuteness to bear as Italy marched to the title.
Cannavaro also showed how to lead from the front. Never shy of bringing his team-mates into line with a sharp word or two, he fought sportingly for every ball and the statistics show that he was guilty of very few fouls.
Pirlo bags Bronze Ball
The ultra-dependable Pirlo was voted the third-best player of the tournament, having proved himself to be one the most complete midfield players in the world. Part-playmaker, part-holding midfielder dual roles he performed to perfection he enjoyed a superb FIFA World Cup and capped it all off by picking up the Budweiser Man of the Match Award for another consummate display in the Final.