Cristiano Ronaldo has added the 2008 FIFA World Player of the Year award to his impressive collection of individual honours.
Ronaldo received the accolade – voted for by coaches and captains of the 208 international federations – from Brazilian legend Pele at a gala event in Zurich, Switzerland, on Monday night.
The Portuguese winger, who picked up the Ballon d’Or in Paris last month, is the first United player to scoop the prize, which was first handed out in 1991. David Beckham was twice voted runner-up (1999, 2001) during his time at Old Trafford.
Ronny’s 42 goals in the 2007/08 season were instrumental in helping United to domestic and European glory, and enough to see the 23-year-old pip Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Liverpool's Fernando Torres to the award.
AC Milan's Kaka and Barcelona's Xavi were also nominated.
The ceremony for the Fifa Player of the Year Award takes place tonight in Switzerland in the Zurich Opera House, and Manchester United’s Portuguese Superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to land the trophy.
FIFA’s annual poll of international team coaches and captains show that the 23 year old is favourite to win the award which will add to his Ballon d’Or prize he scooped in December.
Ronaldo is struggling to emulate the wonderful form he had last season but the player thinks that his current situation is completely normal:
”Tell me one player who had a great season for two, three, four years at the top level? It’s impossible, you don’t have anyone,” Ronaldo told Sky Sports News.
”Last season I think I did brilliant but this season, in my opinion, I’m not bad, I’ve scored 10 goals up to now (he has nine in 23 matches), I’ve come in from injury and people are waiting (for me to get) better and better all the time.
”It is not easy but I know I feel in good form and I think Cristiano is coming better and better. If not this season, then next season I know I can do as well again.”
Cristiano Ronaldo play a great part in Manchester United’s 3-0 victory against Chelsea on Sunday, setting up two goals and scoring a super clean header controversially disallowed.
Darren Fletcher admits he’d relish the task of anchoring United’s midfield at Old Trafford on Sunday.
The 24-year-old was an unused substitute against Southampton and Derby County, which suggests Sir Alex may have been resting the Scottish international ahead of Chelsea’s visit.
Of course, Fletcher has history in this fixture: he scored the only goal of the game when Chelsea visited Old Trafford in November 2005 to end the Blues’ 40-game unbeaten league run.
“It’s great to play in these big games,” he told ManUtd.com. “That’s what playing for United is all about.
“I know every game’s a big game, but some are certainly bigger than others. These games are often great occasions and they’re the ones you want to be involved in.
“You like to test yourself against Europe’s best, against the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool.”
Sir Alex Ferguson admitted he was pleased with the scoreline after Manchester United booked their place in the fourth round of the FA Cup with a 3-0 win at Southampton.
United have struggled to turn chances into goals in recent weeks, but secured a comfortable victory over the Championship side courtesy of goals from Danny Welbeck, Darron Gibson and a Nani penalty.
"It's our best scoreline for quite a while," Ferguson told MUTV.
"We've been missing too many chances but at least we took a better percentage of them against Southampton.
"There's been a good spread of goals throughout the squad this season - that's 14 different players who have scored this season which is healthy."
Meanwhile, Ferguson felt sympathy towards the Championship strugglers after referee Mike Riley - who had already reduced them to ten men - awarded United a penalty for a handball off David McGoldrick's despite replays indicating the ball had struck the back of his head.
"I can't make up my mind about the penalty," he admitted.
"I know he put his arm up and that's obviously why the referee gave it, but it may have actually glanced off his head. I'm not really sure.
"I think the red card (for Matt Paterson) was fair. It was a bad challenge from the boy, very high.
"It would have been interesting to see how things might have turned out had the referee booked him in the first minute though after a late tackle on Jonny Evans - it may well have calmed him down."
The Bulgarian forward has gained the unwanted reputation during his time in the Premiership of being a rather lazy player, who drifts in and out of games and who only turns it on when he feels like it.
However, Ferguson has jumped quickly to the defence of the former Tottenham striker and pointed to a whole host of statistics to prove the opposite.
"I don't agree with the criticism that he slows us down. I don't agree with that at all. In fact, I don't think we have used him enough," the United boss said in the Daily Star Sunday.
"He's fine. It's like everything else. Whenever a player comes here, if there's a way of criticising him, they will find it. They are saying he's this and he's that. But his stats are incredible.
"He did more running against Middlesbrough on Monday night than any other front player, including Wayne Rooney.
"I think it's the languid style of his that's the problem. The stats, though, would surprise you. They don't surprise me.
"I don't always pay attention to stats, to be honest, yet it's good to know in this case."
Berbatov will be looking to prove his manager right today as Manchester United take on Southampton in the FA Cup third round.
Carlos Tevez remains confident his long-term future at Old Trafford will soon be finalised.
With the striker's loan agreement set to expire in the summer, the Argentine's representatives are currently in discussions with the club regarding a permanent deal. And Tevez is hopeful things will be sorted out sooner rather than later.
"I am not preoccupied about my future," says the 24-year-old. "My instincts are to stay with the club and in the next week or so I think there will be more contact with regards to sorting out my contract. That is what we've been told.
"My agent is in touch with United all the time and he tells me that everything is very positive now. So it is up to the club.
"Some people say that £32million is high but I cannot comment on that. Those are the figures that were agreed at the start. I am not responsible.
"Other clubs have asked about me but I see my future at United."
Despite seeing his chances somewhat limited this season following the arrival of Dimitar Berbatov, Tevez insists he is more than happy to remain at Old Trafford.
"It has been a complicated season for me, there is no point denying that," he admits. "I have not been able to get as many minutes on the field as I would like because the quality of the forwards at the club is incredible.
"It is not easy for forwards to get into this team and I have suffered. But that does not make me want to leave. I have no urge to run away."