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After Europe, Canna conquers world

india Updated: Dec 20, 2006 13:37 IST

Fabio Cannavaro feels vindicated. The Italy captain said his FIFA World Player of the Year award would answer critics who complained he shouldn’t have been voted Europe’s best player recently.

Cannavaro received 498 points from international coaches and captains when the FIFA award was announced on Monday, relegating Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldinho into second and third. The Real Madrid defender’s triumph came three weeks after he won the Golden Ball for the top European player in a French football magazine’s poll of 52 journalists. Some felt this prize should have been won by an attacking player.

“Now, all the people who spoke before, when I won the Golden Ball, have shut their mouths. The coaches and players from national teams have given me this prize and recognition,” Cannavaro told Real Madrid’s web site on Tuesday.

Cannavaro — the first defender to win the FIFA award since its inception in 1991— said his prize would encourage other defenders. “Every defender can aspire to win an award like this one as only forwards and midfielders had won it up to now,” the 33-year-old said. “I’m happy to have been the first defender to have won such a title.”

Cannavaro said he didn’t feel as ‘the best player in the world.’

“I do feel I’m a player who has played well in 2006. Real Madrid are a very important team but I think these prizes are, above all, for winning the World Cup. I played really well in Germany,” he said.

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