MONTEVIDEO: Brazilian veteran Ronaldinho has been voted South American Footballer of the Year in the annual poll conducted by the Uruguayan daily newspaper, El Pais, writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The award is a consolation for the 33-year-old after his Brazilian club, South American champions Atletico Mineiro, were beaten in the semi-finals of the Club World Cup earlier this month in Morocco.
The poll was undertaken among 345 sports journalists from across South America. Ronaldinho gained 156 votes, followed by fellow Brazilian Neymar (81). Neymar, transferred from Santos to Barcelona in July, won the continental prize in 2011 and 2012.
Ronaldinho is the only player in the three decades of the award to have won both the European and South American prizes. He was voted European Footballer of the Year in 2005 while playing for Barcelona.
Eligibility for the El Pais poll depends on a footballer having played his football in South America during at least some of the year.
Colombia’s national team boss, Argentinian Jose Pekerman, was elected with 88 votes as the best coach in South America for the second consecutive year, ahead of Chile’s Jorge Sampaoli – another Argentinian – and the Barcelona coach ‘Tata’ Martino. They received 80 and 64 votes respectively.
The South American Team of the Year was: Martin Silva (Uruguay) – Paolo Goltz (Argentina), Réver (Brazil), Marcos Rocha (Brazil), Bernard (Brazil) – Ronaldinho (Brazil), Everton Ribeiro (Brazil) Maximiliano Rodríguez (Argentina), Ignacio Scocco (Argentina) – Jo (Brazil), Neymar (Brazil).
The award of best European place went to Real Madrid and Portugal Cristiano Ronaldo with German veteran Jupp Heynckes (formerly Bayern Munich) as top coach.
Previous South American Footballers of the Year:
1986: ANTONIO ALZAMENDI (Uruguay)
1987: CARLOS VALDERRAMA (Colombia)
1988: RUBEN PAZ (Uruguay)
1989: BEBETO (Brazil)
1990: RAÚL VICENTE AMARILLA (Paraguay)
1991: OSCAR RUGGERI (Argentina)
1992: RAI (Brazil)
1993: CARLOS VALDERRAMA (Colombia)
1994: CAFU (Brazil)
1995: ENZO FRANCESCOLI (Uruguay)
1996: JOSE LUIS CHILAVERT (Paraguay)
1997: MARCELO SALAS (Chile)
1998: MARTÍN PALERMO (Argentina)
1999: JAVIER SAVIOLA (Argentina)
2000: ROMARIO DE SOUZA FARIA (Brazil)
2001: JUAN ROMÁN RIQUELME (Argentina)
2002: JOSÉ SATURNINO CARDOZO (Paraguay)
2003: CARLOS TEVEZ (Argentina)
2004: CARLOS TEVEZ (Argentina)
2005: CARLOS TEVEZ (Argentina)
2006: MATÍAS FERNÁNDEZ (Chile)
2007: SALVADOR CABAÑAS (Paraguay)
2008: JUAN SEBASTIÁN VERÓN (Argentina)
2009: JUAN SEBASTIÁN VERÓN (Argentina)
2010: ANDRÉS D`ALESSANDRO (Argentina)
2011: NEYMAR (Brazil)
2012: NEYMAR (Brazil)
Previous South American Coaches of the Year:
1986 – CARLOS SALVADOR BILARDO (Argentina)
1987 – CARLOS SALVADOR BILARDO (Argentina)
1988 – ROBERTO FLEITAS (Uruguay)
1989 – SEBASTIAO LAZARONI (Brazil)
1990 – LUIS CUBILLA (Uruguay)
1991 – ALFIO BASILE (Argentina)
1992 – TELE SANTANA (Brazil)
1993 – FRANCISCO MATURANA (Colombia)
1994 – CARLOS BIANCHI (Argentina)
1995 – HECTOR NUÑEZ (Uruguay)
1996 – HERNAN DARIO GOMEZ (Colombia)
1997 – DANIEL PASSARELLA (Argentina)
1998 – CARLOS BIANCHI (Argentina)
1999 – LUIZ FELIPE SCOLARI (Brazil)
2000 – CARLOS BIANCHI (Argentina)
2001 – CARLOS BIANCHI (Argentina)
2002 – LUIZ FELIPE SCOLARI (Brazil)
2003 – CARLOS BIANCHI (Argentina)
2004 – LUIS FERNANDO MONTOYA (Colombia)
2005 – ANIBAL RUIZ (Uruguay)
2006 – CLAUDIO BORGHI (Argentina)
2007 – GERARDO MARTINO (Argentina)
2008 – EDGARDO BAUZA (Argentina)
2009 – MARCELO BIELSA (Argentina)
2010 – ÓSCAR W. TABÁREZ (Uruguay)
2011 – ÓSCAR W. TABÁREZ (Uruguay)
2012 – JOSÉ PEKERMAN (Colombia)