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By ESPN Staff
Dec 15, 2006

Cannavaro - World Soccer's Player of the Year

LONDON, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Fabio Cannavaro, who skippered Italy to victory at the World Cup, was named World Soccer's World Player of the Year on Friday -- only the second defender to win the honour in the awards' 25-year history.

The last defender to do so was compatriot Paolo Maldini in 1994.

Cannavaro's victory was one of the most comprehensive in the poll's history as he collected 40 percent of the readers' vote conducted annually by the influential British-based magazine.

He got three times as many votes as Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o of Cameroon and Frenchman Thierry Henry of Arsenal, who finished second and third respectively.

Cannavaro, who was named European Footballer of the Year last month, is one of three candidates for the FIFA World Player of the Year which will be announced on Monday.

Other award winners were Marcello Lippi of Italy, who was named coach of the year while European champions Barcelona were named World Team of the Year. Lionel Messi of Barcelona and Argentina was named Young Player of the Year.