The FIFA World Player of the Year award was an award given to the world’s best male and female football players. It has since been replaced by the FIFA Ballon d’Or as of the 2010 season. This award was a very prestigious honor and it was voted on by coaches and captains of internationally recognized teams. The men’s award was established in 1991 and the women’s award was introduced in 2001.
In the history of the this prestigious award, the youngest person to win was Ronaldo, who won in the year 1996 as a 20 year old. Ronaldo won the award twice more in 1997 and 2002. Female footballer Marta also won as a 20 year old 2006, but she was seven months older than Ronaldo was at the time he won the award. The most times a player won the award is five. This feat was accomplished by Marta, who is also the only football player, male or female, to win the award in five consecutive years. On the men’s side, Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane have both won the award three times, which is a record for men. Lionel Messi won the final Player of the Year award, which was awarded in 2009. He has also won the first two FIFA Ballon d’Or awards, making him essentially a three-time Player of the Year in consecutive years.
Brazilian players playing for European teams dominated the award on the men’s side. In fact, eight of the recipients were Brazilian national players who had been playing for European club teams. The country with the second most recipients was France, which produced three Player of the Year winners.
Today, the award for the best player in football, which is awarded by FIFA, is known as the FIFA Ballon d’Or. This award came into existence when the FIFA award merged with France’s annual Ballon d’Or award. This has made the honor more prestigious, and it has allayed suspicions that the voting for the award was unfair. It is thought that the player of the year will continue to be awarded the FIFA Ballon d’Or in coming seasons.