Juventus midfielder Pavel Nedved admmitted that he could hardly believe he had been voted European Footballer of the Year.
The Czech international was named ahead of Arsenal striker Thierry Henry and Milan defender Paolo Maldini in a poll of journalists from 52 countries published by France Football magazine.
“I did not even dream of winning such an award. I’m very happy to receive such an important, such an extraordinary honor,” Nedved said.
“I heard about the nominees and being among them. But I did not believe in my chances too much. For me Thierry Henry is the best forward in the world now. If I had voted I would have voted for Thierry.
“A lot of players had good results like Paolo Maldini, (Real Madrid striker) Raul, (Zinedine) Zidane. All of them deserved to win,” he added.
“It was definitely my best year. I had lots of luck as well. Luck is part of a player’s career,” Nedved added.
Ironically, Nedved was signed as a replacement at Juventus for Zinedine Zidane, who last week, was named FIFA World Player of the Year.
“I left Juve and he stepped in and worked wonders,” said Zidane.
“I’m happy for him because he’s a good guy or so I was told at Juventus. The result speaks for itself. The golden ball is rarely wrong,” the Frenchman added.