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Ibrahimović Wins Player of the Year

Inter Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimović was named Player of the Year and Foreign Player of the Year at the Italian Players Association’s 2008 Oscar del Calcio while Juventus captain Alessandro Del Piero was honoured as the best Italian player in Serie A.

Ibrahimović became the first Swede to be named Player of the Year since the awards began in 1997, having scored 17 goals in 26 Serie A games last season as Inter claimed a third successive league title. The 27-year-old also finished above ACF Fiorentina’s Romania forward Adrian Mutu and AC Milan’s Brazilian playmaker Kaká in the poll to decide the best foreign player in the league. Ibrahimović completed an award hat-trick with the Goal of the Year prize for his back-heeled volley against Bologna FC in October.

Meanwhile, the 34-year-old Del Piero, who finished the last campaign as Serie A top-scorer with 21 goals, was voted ahead of AS Roma’s Daniele De Rossi and Milan’s Andrea Pirlo in the poll for the best Italian player. Del Piero also won the fans’ award for the most popular player in the country. SSC Napoli’s Slovakian midfielder Marek Hamšík was voted as best young player of 2008, while Juventus pair Gianluigi Buffon and Giorgio Chiellini were voted as best goalkeeper and best defender respectively. ACF Fiorentina coach Cesare Prandelli was cited as best coach, while Roberto Rosetti, who took charge of the UEFA EURO 2008™ final between Spain and Germany in June, was selected as best referee.