Brazil midfielder


completed a virtual sweep of annual awards yesterday by winning FIFA's World Player of the Year.

The Milan playmaker received 1,047 points, ahead of Argentina's Messi with 504 and Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo with 426 in a vote by national team captains and managers. The three were picked as finalists from a list of 30 candidates.

On the women's side, Marta, of Brazil, captured the award with 988 points, ahead of Birgit Prinz, of Germany, with 507 and Cristiane, of Brazil, with 150.

Kaka also won European soccer's Golden Ball and World Soccer magazine's player of the year award.

"Tonight is a really special night for me," Kaka said after being handed the trophy.

In other soccer news:

* Argentina finished No. 1 in soccer's world rankings in 2007, winning FIFA's team of the year in the process. The United States remained at No. 19. Brazil was second and world champion Italy third.


* U.S. Fed Cup captain Zina Garrison will be joined next year by coach Mary Joe Fernandez, who will take over as captain in 2009. The U.S. will play Germany in the Fed Cup quarterfinals Feb. 2-3 at La Jolla, Calif.

* Roger Federer and Justine Henin are the ITF world champions for 2007. Federer became only the second man to win the International Tennis Federation's award in four straight years, joining Pete Sampras. The ITF is awarded based on performances at both professional tournaments and the Davis Cup or Fed Cup.

Sport Stops

* A doctor at the center of an Italian doping investigation received a lifetime sports ban. Carlo Santuccione was barred from being a member of any sports federation and participating in sports events, the Italian Olympic Committee said. Santuccione already had served a 5-year suspension from the Italian cycling federation from 1995-00.

* American Ted Ligety completed his first slalom of the season, finishing third in Alta Badia, Italy. He finished behind winner Jean-Baptiste Grange, a Frenchman who won for the first time on the World Cup circuit, and runner-up Felix Neureuther, of Germany. Olympic slalom champion Benjamin Raich and Bode Miller both skied off course in the opening leg.

* Croatian swimmer Marko Strahija was suspended by FINA for taking performance-enhancing hormones.