Date: 9th January 2009 at 11:21am
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RONALDO VOTED WORLD’S BEST ACCORDING TO BARCLAYS GLOBAL FANS REPORT

32,000 fans from 185 countries share opinions in Barclays Global Fans’ Survey – world’s biggest ever football fan survey-

Ahead of Monday’s FIFA World Player of the Year Award, to be announced at a gala ceremony in Zurich, Switzerland, the 2008 Barclays Global Fans Report has revealed that if the decision was down to the opinions of fans, Manchester United and Portugal winger Cristiano Ronaldo would scoop the coveted prize.

Ronaldo, who recently collected the Ballon d’Or, was backed as the best player in the world by 35% of fans in the survey, which canvassed the views of over 32,000 fans from 185 countries across the globe.

The Portugal winger’s closest rival was Barcelona star and last year’s World Player award runner-up Lionel Messi of Barcelona who polled 17% of supporters’ votes.

Both Ronaldo and Messi are included on the shortlist for the award, which is decided by coaches of national teams worldwide. Reigning FIFA World Player of the Year Kak received just 7% of the vote in the Barclays Global Fans Report, trailing Liverpool duo Steven Gerrard (10%) and Fernando Torres (9%).

Should Cristiano Ronaldo be named FIFA World Player of the Year, he will become the first Manchester United player ever to claim the crown, with David Beckham’s two runner-up spots in 1999 and 2001 the closest that the Old Trafford club has come to the accolade. Ronaldo would become only the second Portuguese player to win the prize, emulating Luis Figo’s achievement in 2001.

The analysis was carried out as ongoing research by Barclays, official title sponsor of the Barclays Premier League, into the attitudes and lifestyles of football fans around the world.