Italian Fabio Cannavaro
and Brazilian Marta
were crowned 2006 FIFA World Player and 2006 FIFA Women's World Player, respectively, Monday at the 16th FIFA World Player Gala at the
Zurich Opera House.
Cannavaro's selection comes three weeks after he was named the European Player of the Year. Cannavaro edged three-time World Player of the Year winner
, who won the FIFA award in 2004 and 2005, in a vote of national team coaches and captains. Cannavaro captained Italy to the 2006 World Cup title,
leading the backline that did not allow an opponent to score from the run of play in seven games.
Marta edged longtime U.S. star Kristine Lilly and
. The 20-year-old Brazilian, who skipped the Under-20 World Cup, stars for Swedish women's giant Umea.
Lilly had perhaps the most dominating year of her career, scoring the
winning goals in the finals of the Peace Queen Cup and CONCACAF Gold Cup in November and both goals in the 2-0 victory over host China to clinch the Four Nations Tournament in January. She also
scored in two games at the Algarve Cup, where the USA fell to Germany on penalty kicks in the final. She finished the year with 13 goals in 20 games to give her 117 goals in a record 319
American Abby Wambach
finished fourth in the voting. A total of 147 national coaches and 147 team captains took part in the women's vote.