Barcelona’s outstanding Brazilian star Ronaldinho is the undisputed World Player of the Year for 2005 after topping our annual poll.

Ronaldinho retains the title he won 12 months ago and in doing so becomes only the third player to win the award in successive seasons, after Michel Platini in 1984 and 1985 and Ronaldo in 1996 and 1997.

Ronaldinho also recorded the fifth biggest share of the vote – almost 39 per cent – in the 24-year history of the award. He received almost three times as many votes as his closest rival, Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard. Chelsea’s Frank Lampard finished third.

This year’s voting confirmed Spain, England and Italy as the world’s foremost leagues, with four players from La Liga, three from the Premiership and three from Serie A in the top 10.

Jose Mourinho retained the Manager award, the first time that has been achieved, edging out Liverpool’s Rafa Benitez after leading Chelsea to their first League title for 50 years.

However, Liverpool won the Team award on the strength of their Champions League triumph. Barcelona’s Frank Rijkaard and Fabio Capello of Juventus came third and fourth respectively in the Manager list following title wins with their clubs.

National coaches Marco Van Basten (Holland), Guus Hiddink (Australia), Stephen Keshi (Togo) and Carlos Alberto Parreira (Brazil) also made the top 10.

There were two new awards this year. Brazilian starlet Robinho won a close race with England forward Wayne Rooney for the Young Player prize. Barcelona teenager Lionel Messi came third.

Italian Pierluigi Collina was the clear winner of the Referee award, even though he hung up his whistle earlier this year. Dane Kim Milton Nielsen was second, with German Markus Merk third.

The awards in full

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