Barcelona sweep the board in FIFPro awards

November 6, 2006

MADRID, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Spanish and European champions Barcelona and their leading players Ronaldinho, Lionel Messi and Samuel Eto'o swept the board in annual awards announced by the professional players union FIFPro on Monday.

Ronaldinho was named FIFPro World Player of the Year for the second time in succession following a vote by 43,000 professionals worldwide, his 19-year-old team mate Messi was chosen as the Young Player of the Year and Eto'o was given the FIFPro Merit award.

Ronaldinho played a key role in steering Barcelona to a second successive league title and victory in the Champions League but had a disappointing World Cup with Brazil.

FIFPro said that Cameroon international Eto'o, who was top scorer in Spain with 26 goals last season, was given the Merit award for his commitment to Africa and African football and for his stance against racism in football.

Barcelona were given the Players for Peace award for their decision to use their shirt advertising space to promote the work of the United Nations children's agency UNICEF.