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Ronaldo is Footballer of the Year

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LONDON, England -- Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United was named Footballer of the Year on Friday, completing an unprecedented clean sweep of England's three major individual honors this season.

The Portugal winger finished ahead of Didier Drogba of Chelsea and United team mates Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes in the 60th vote organized by the Football Writers' Association (FWA).

"I am absolutely thrilled and delighted to win such an important award, it is a real honor," Ronaldo told the FWA after being informed of his victory in a poll in which an unusually high number of 12 players received votes.

FWA chairman Paul Hetherington said: "(It) completes a remarkable turnaround for the player, who was so heavily criticized during last year's World Cup for his part in the sending-off of club mate Wayne Rooney when England played Portugal in the quarter-finals.

"It shows in England we do not bear a grudge and can accept and recognize individual brilliance. He was the deserved, overwhelming winner of a poll dominated by United players which underlines their success this season."

The 22-year-old becomes the first United player to win the award since Teddy Sheringham in 2001 and the first Portuguese to land the honor.

Ronaldo was also voted Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year by the Professional Footballers' Association last month.

The winger, who joined United from Sporting Lisbon for £12.2 million ($24.31 million) in 2003, has been in inspirational form this season, scoring 22 goals for United.

Although United were knocked out of the Champions League by AC Milan on Wednesday, they can still lift a Premier League and FA Cup double.

Ronaldo also won the PFA player of the year and young player of the year awards last month.



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