FIFPro World Player of the Year Ronaldinho talks about who could win this years title
Ronaldinho the FIFPro world player of the year in 2006 has launched the voting for the 2007 award casting his vote in Barcelona today.
Barcelona’s Brazilian superstar talked at the launch about the players that impressed him this season such as his Barcelona team-mate, Argentinean winger Lionel Messi, Brazilian team mates Kaka and UEFA cup winner Sevilla’s Daniel Alves. He also praised his Spanish rivals Real Madrid’s Dutch International striker Ruud van Nistelrooy. Liverpool Captain Steven Gerrard, English Players’ Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo and FA Cup Final winning Chelsea goal scorer Didier Drogba were also singled out for praise.
Ronaldinho emphasised that the FIFPro award is the one the players want to win as it is voted for by his fellow professionals. 57,500 players around the world are represented by FIFPro (Fédération Internationale des FootballeursProfessionels) the World Players’ Union. He commented: “It is a special award. Players are the ones who understand football. They are the ones who play against you or who have the living experience of the game. This is why I consider it one of the most significant prizes there is.
English clubs have had a strong season and Brazil face England at Wembley on Friday (June1). Who are the players in England that have impressed the brilliant Brazilian? “All the players involved with the England national team are great footballers, players with a lot of individual quality. The English club teams have also been very strong. I watch the league there and I see only strong sides with two or three outstanding individuals in each one, all of them in contention for the award.
The Brazilian World Cup winner went on to say: “Cristiano Ronaldo is a great player. Very young, but with a style of playing that I really love. For me, he is one of the players who has been in the best form recently. Also, Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard is for me, in the position he plays, one of the very best in the world. He has a huge impact. For the job he performs, for me, he is one of the greatest.”
Asked if any of his Barcelona team-mates are in with a chance of being FIFPro’s number one world player, Ronaldinho comments: “They all have a chance as far as I’m concerned. First, because they are all my friends and I play here in a great team.”
With teammate Leo Messi in the running for FIFPro’s Young Player of the Year, what does he think of his young colleague? “Leo is doing very well right now, growing with every game he plays, with every new month. I hope he wins many prizes because he is a great, great football player.”
Milan’s Kaka is another player who has had an outstanding season. What were his thoughts on his Brazilian international teammate? Ronaldinho was full of praise. “He is in brilliant form now. It is a real joy for me to see him in such form. I think he has improved and I certainly see a better player every year I see him. I see him very determined and in exceptional form. Every year that goes by he is learning more and more.”
Fellow Brazilian, Sevilla’s Dani Alves is another player who has impressed Ronaldinho. “He is a player I actually knew from a long way back in Brazil. I followed what he was doing in the national junior squads. Now he is here in Spain he is doing better and better and his game has taken on more aspects. I am very pleased for him.
Ronadinho talking about the highly competitive Spanish league season? “We (Barcelona) had the chances to be very well placed and we have let important points slip away. Real Madrid have some very big players, Sevilla have big players, so do Valencia and Zaragoza. In all of those teams there are individuals in very good form. But we are up there fighting, too. I think in each of the sides there are two or three players with a lot of quality and that is what is going to help in the battle for the title.
Ruud van Nistelrooy, the Dutch player playing for Barcelona’s great rivals, Real Madrid, has also impressed Ronaldinho. “He’s a terrific striker with great ability to score goals. He has always proved that and is doing so again now. He has adapted well and is in great form.”
He also had praise for three African strikers have also excelled this season and with Didier Drogba, Freddie Kanoute and Samuel Eto’o all impressing. Ronaldinho comments: “Drogba, Kanoute and Eto’o are all feeling really confident. All have settled well into their teams and all are doing well. It has been a good year for them.”
Glasgow Celtic’s Japanese star and Scotland’s Professional Footballers’ Association Player of The Year Shunsuke Nakamura is another player who has impressed Ronaldinho. “He is actually a player I know very well. I have played against him at many big events like the Olympics and in the Confederation Cup, so I have always followed his career. He used to have a great partnership with Nakata and they are both players I like a lot, with great quality”
The Brazilian keeps up with football from all around the world. He commented: “I like to watch football from all the other leagues, partly because I have a lot of friends playing in all parts of the world so I am always watching how things are working out for my friends in all corners of the world.”
Finally, is it going to be difficult to choose the FIFPro Player of The Year? “It is going to be very hard indeed. There are so many good players all over the world, players of great quality. So, it has to be hard making the decisions.”