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By ESPN Staff
Dec 30, 2006

Fernandez voted South American player of year

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay -- Chilean Matias Fernandez, who signed this week with Spanish club Villareal, has been voted South American player of the year.

Fernandez got 62 votes in the El Pais newspaper's annual poll of regional sports reporters on Saturday, edging Argentine Rodrigo Palacio of Boca Juniors by six votes. Another Argentine, Fernando Gago, who recently signed with Real Madrid from Boca Juniors, finished third.

The 20-year-old Fernandez led Chilean side Colo Colo to the final of the Copa Sudamericana, which they lost this month to Mexican club Pachuca.

Colo Colo's Argentine coach Claudio Borghi was voted coach of the year.