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FIFA to honour year's best player

FIFA will unveil the winner of their World Player award for 2008 today, following the world governing body's annual poll of international team coaches and captains.

Manchester United and Portugal winger Cristiano Ronaldo is widely seen as the favourite, having already won the Ballon d'Or trophy awarded by football journalists in December to the best European-based player.

Ronaldo, who won England's Premier League, the Champions League and FIFA's World Club Cup with United in 2008, faces competition from fellow nominees Xavi Hernandez, Fernando Torres, Lionel Messi and Kaka.

Xavi and Torres were both instrumental in Spain's victory at Euro 2008, while Messi helped steer Argentina to Olympic gold at the Beijing Games.

Last year's FIFA World Player Kaka is seeking to emulate Brazilian compatriots Ronaldo and Ronaldinho by winning the title in successive years but is considered an outside chance following a year blighted by injury problems.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Liverpool striker Torres will also carry the hopes of the Premier League with them as they bid to win a trophy which has so far only been awarded to players based at Italian or Spanish clubs.


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