Ronaldinho pips Lampard to world's best player title

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The Independent Online

Barcelona's striker Ronaldinho was named 2005 world player of the year at a Fifa awards ceremony here yesterday. The Brazilian beat Chelsea's Frank Lampard into second place.

Lampard yesterday found himself sitting between Ronaldinho and another of the Catalan club's players, Samuel Eto'o, who will be gunning for revenge in the hotly anticipated awaited Champions' League rematch between the giants of European football in February.

Chelsea fans can breathe easy. Lampard is not about to jump ship and move to the Nou Camp with his Catalan girlfriend. The reason he was here and flanked by Ronaldinho on one side and Eto'o on the other was that all three had been nominated for the award.

Lampard called on everyone involved in the rematch to respect the rules in the wake of last year's infamous tie, which led to Chelsea being fined for their behaviour and Jose Mourinho receiving a two-match touchline ban over the Anders Frisk affair.

"There will be no problems with this game," said Lampard. "What happened last year should not overshadow the fact that they were two great games. This year we must understand that two fantastic teams is what matters and not things outside the pitch.

"The draw has provided a great opportunity for both teams and I'm looking forward to going again against them," he continued. "We are desperate to win again having lost in the semis two years' running.

"The reason I'm sitting here is because of all the hard work I've done and my ambition to get to the top," Lampard said.

Not being picked for the World Cup four years ago, he said, was the biggest disappointment of his life. A close second were allegations of preferential treatment when he was at West Ham where he played under Frank Snr and Harry Redknapp.

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