ZURICH: Manchester United and Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo was on Monday named FIFA World Footballer of the Year for 2008.

He was given the award at a ceremony in Zurich while Palestine was given an special FIFA award for promoting football in the west bank.

Ronaldo, who is also holder of the prestigious Ballon d'Or for the European Footballer of the Year, beat off competition from 2007 winner Kaka (Brazil), Lionel Messi (Argentina), Fernando Torres (Spain) and Xavi (Spain).

The 23-year-old, scorer of 42 goals in all competitions in the 2007-8 season, was one of United's architects behind the club's English Premiership and Champions League double.

However, Portugal crashed out 3-2 to Germany in the quarter-final of Euro 2008 in June.

Ronaldo becomes the second Portuguese player to win the FIFA accolade after Luis Figo in 2001, and the first one playing for a British club.

He reaped 935 points in the vote in which the coaches and captains of 155 national teams took part. Messi finished second (678 points) and was trailed by Torres (203), Kaka (183) and Xavi (155).

Brazilian midfielder Marta was unveiled as FIFA World Women's Footballer of the year for 2008, for the third year running.

Marta delivered an outstanding performance at the women's Olympic football tournament in Beijing 2008, and equalled the record set by Birgit Prinz by claiming her third consecutive title.

For the women's vote, 139 coaches and captains cast their vote and Marta won comfortably (1,002 points) ahead of Germany's Prinz (328), Brazil's Cristiane (275), Germany's Nadine Angerer (198) and England's Kelly Smith (150).