Ronaldo favored for FIFA award to complete his set
ZURICH: Cristiano Ronaldo is favored to complete a clean sweep of football''s top individual awards by being named FIFA''s World Player of the Year for 2008 on Monday.
The 23-year-old Manchester United winger has already received the Ballon D''Or as European footballer of the year and been named the world''s best by the global players'' union FIFPro and World Soccer magazine.
Voters must decide whether to reward Ronaldo for his scintillating form during the second half of a 42-goal season that helped United win the Premier League and Champions League last May.
Ronaldo''s strongest challengers are two players who helped their countries win international titles and have helped make Spanish league leader Barcelona arguably the best team in Europe this season.
Striker Lionel Messi led Argentina to the Olympic gold medal in August, while club teammate Xavi Hernandez was named UEFA''s player of the tournament when Spain won the European Championship last June.
The five-man shortlist is completed by Brazil and AC Milan midfielder Kaka, who won the award for 2007 when Messi and Ronaldo filled the podium places, and Liverpool striker Fernando Torres, whose goal won the Euro 2008 final against Germany.
Votes were taken from head coaches and captains of men''s and women''s national teams around the world by a mid-December deadline.