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Spain’s two representatives to vote for yesterday’s FIFA World Player of the Year, coach Vicente del Bosque and captain Iker Casillas, had differing views as to who was the best footballer of 2008.

Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo galloped away with the FIFA World Player gong when he amassed a whopping 935 points from the votes cast by national team coaches and captains from 115 countries.

Lionel Messi came in second with 678 points, Fernando Torres with 203, while Kaká and Xavi rounded up the top five with 183 and 155 points respectively.

Euro 2008 champions and FIFA’s number one ranked team, Spain, were represented by coach Vicente del Bosque and captain, Iker Casillas, but neither agreed on who the best three players of the year were.

Del Bosque’s first choice pick was eventual winner, Ronaldo, followed by Messi and Steven Gerrard. Casillas, however, chose good friend but rival Samuel Eto’o as his number one, with Gerrard in second place and Messi third.

Ronaldo’s compatriots, coach Carlos Quieroz selected Xavi, Kaká and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in that respective order while captain, Nuno Gomes went for an all-striker pick: Ruud van Nistelrooy, Didier Drogba and Samuel Eto’o.

Over at Messi’s Argentina, coach Diego Maradona chose Ronaldo, Ibrahimovic and Emmanuel Adebayor; while captain, Javier Mascherano’s pick, perhaps predictably, had a very distinct English look about it as he voted for Ronaldo, Fernando Torres and Gerrard.

England coach, Fabio Capello chose the exact order of the eventual top three: Ronaldo, Messi and Torres; but captain, John Terry, placed Xavi and Torres ahead of one of his fiercest direct adversary over the years, Ronaldo.

Perennial giants, Italy had a worrying shortage of nominees for 2008 but coach, Marcello Lippi selected Messi, Ronaldo and Torres, while skipper, Fabio Cannavaro voted for Ronaldo as his first choice, Real Madrid teammate Casillas in second, Ibrahimovic in third while omitting his close club foe, Lionel Messi completely.

As per the stipulations, coaches and captain were not allowed to vote for players from their own countries.

KS Leong, Goal.com

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