Cristiano Ronaldo has been named FIFPro World Footballer of the Year. It is the first in what is expected to be a host of individual honours for the 23-year-old, who scored 42 goals for Manchester United on their way to Champions League and Premier League title success last term.
Ronaldo had suggested last week he could do no more than he did to be crowned the best player on the planet, and players from more than 40 countries are in agreement.
At £12.2m – a sum many observers initially claimed was vastly inflated for an unproven youngster – Ronaldo has proved to be a bargain since his arrival from Sporting Lisbon in 2003, growing steadily into the most influential player in the United team.
It is anticipated that he will also win the Balon d'Or and the Fifa World Player of the Year award, with the Portugal international – who has also been named in FIFPro's world team of the year – keen to remain at Old Trafford for another couple of seasons at the very least.
"I insist that I am a Manchester United player and now I think that next year I will continue here," Ronaldo told Spanish newspaper Marca.
Although Sir Alex Ferguson has twice been forced to intervene to keep Ronaldo at the club – immediately after the 2006 World Cup and last summer as Real Madrid made their bid to get him – the player seems committed to helping United win further honours, even if his lack of goal celebrations recently has been the subject of debate.
Ronaldo admitted that Ferguson played a huge part in his decision to commit his immediate future to the Red Devils following this summer's transfer speculation.
"He has been a key person. I respect him a lot, because it was him who signed me and he has played a very important part in all that I have won," said Ronaldo. "In Lisbon I reached an agreement with him and it was decided that the best thing for all was to continue.
"He listened to my arguments and I listened to his. Now I understand that it was the correct decision. I am with Manchester United body and soul."
Ronaldo's United team-mate Wayne Rooney will not be the subject of a Football Association investigation following his badge-kissing at Goodison Park on Saturday.
Ferguson admitted he substituted Rooney for his own good at the weekend after the striker became increasingly frustrated during Manchester United's 1-1 draw with Everton.
Rooney was booked for a foul on Mikel Arteta and, with tempers starting to fray, Ferguson hauled the England man off. He responded by kissing his badge, a move which clearly could be regarded as inflammatory at his former club.
However, the FA has confirmed it will not be investigating the matter further as the referee Alan Wiley saw the incident at the time and had a quiet word with Rooney.
Ferguson had been critical of Wiley's officiating, suggesting the referee had not done enough to maintain control. He said: "I don't think the referee protected our players enough. I don't know what the game's coming to with some of the tackles going in. With the ferocity of the challenges, somebody's going to get a bad injury."
Global elite FIFPro's world team of the year
*Iker Casillas (Real Madrid) Captained Spain to Euro 2008 success. Also won La Liga
*Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid) Won Euro 2008 and La Liga
*John Terry (Chelsea) Captained Chelsea to Champions League final
*Carles Puyol (Barcelona) Rock at the back for Spain during Euro 2008
*Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United) Won Premier League and Champions League
*Xavi (Barcelona) Named Uefa's player of the tournament at Euro 2008
*Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) Fine season
*Kaka (Milan) World Player of the Year '07
*Fernando Torres (Liverpool) 33 goals for his new club and scored winning goal of Euro 2008
*Lionel Messi (Barcelona) Impressed again
*Christiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)Reuse content