Stars finalists for award

ZURICH - Italy's World Cup-winning captain Fabio Cannavaro, Brazil star Ronaldinho and retired Frenchman Zinedine Zidane are the three finalists for the World Footballer of the Year award, the sport's ruling body, Fifa, said yesterday.

ZURICH - Italy's World Cup-winning captain Fabio Cannavaro, Brazil star Ronaldinho and retired Frenchman Zinedine Zidane are the three finalists for the World Footballer of the Year award, the sport's ruling body, Fifa, said yesterday.

The winner of the poll among national team coaches and captains from around the world will be announced on December 18 at the World Player gala in Fifa's home town of Zurich.

Cannavaro captained Italy to their fourth World Cup title on July 9 in Berlin, beating France on penalties. Earlier this week the Real Madrid defender won the European Footballer of the Year award.

Ronaldinho is the two-time reigning world footballer of the year and played a major role in his club Barcelona winning the 2006 European Champions League title.

Zidane, who won the prestigious award three times in his career (1998, 2000 and 2003) was instrumental in leading France to the World Cup final. But he was famously sent of in his final career game when he headbutted Italian Marco Materazzi.

The women's finalists are Kristine Lilly of the United States, Germany's Renate Lingor and Brazil star Marta. The 16th edition of the Fifa gala will also see several other awards, including the fair play prize. - Sapa-DPA

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