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By ESPN Staff

Kaka wins Golden Ball award

PARIS -- AC Milan midfielder Kaka won the Golden Ball award Sunday after his standout performances helped the Italian club win the Champions League title this year.

The 25-year-old Brazilian scored 10 goals in the competition, with his two-goal performance at Manchester United in the semifinals hailed as one of the best of the tournament.

"It has been a special year for me; this award underlines that," Kaka said. "The only way to win an award like this is to belong to a team which fights. I have to thank the players, the coach."

Kaka received 444 points from France Football magazine, which organized the vote. Portugal and Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo was second with 277, while Argentina and FC Barcelona forward Lionel Messi finished third with 255.

Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro won the award last year, when the field was limited to European club players. This year's format featured a shortlist of 50 players worldwide.

Chelsea striker Didier Drogba of the Ivory Coast was fourth with 108 points, and Milan midfielder Andrea Pirlo of Italy finished fifth with 41. Brazilian Ronaldinho, the 2005 winner, finished 12th.