Zurich:Brazilian footballers Kaka and Marta have been crowned World Footballers of the Year at a glittering ceremony in Zurich.
Offensive midfielder Kaka, who Sunday inspired his Italian club AC Milan to success in the World Club Cup, won the prestigious award for the first time, while his compatriot Marta repeated her success from last year here Monday.
Kaka, 25, beat Argentine striker Lionel Messi, 20, and Manchester United's Portuguese international Cristiano Ronaldo in the annual poll conducted among national team coaches and captains by the world governing body FIFA.
He follows in the footsteps of compatriots Romario, Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho and said that it had been a wonderful year. "The best moment of course was winning the Champions League with Milan."
It was the second major individual award that the Brasilia-born player picked up in two weeks after being crowned the European Footballer of the Year.
He takes over the mantle as the best footballer in the world from Italian Fabio Cannavaro, who won the award last year from French Zinedine Zidane. Both players were in their 30's.
Kaka said that the fact that all three finalists this time around were so young showed that a new cycle has had begun. "This shows that football is getting younger."
The Brazilian was the overwhelming winner, beating Messi into second place by more than 500 points. Kaka had 1,047, while Messi received 504 points and Ronaldo had 426 points.
Marta's lead over German World Cup-winning captain Birgit Prinz was not as much, but still convincing. The Swedish-based player received 988 points, while Prinz had 507. Brazilian Cristiane was third with 150 points.