Manchester United prodigy Cristiano Ronaldo was named FIFA World Player of the Year for 2008 Monday in Zurich.
Despite suffering through a rather torrid beginning to the recent 2008/2009 campaign, Ronaldo trumped Barcelona forward Lionel Messi for world football's most prestigious individual award.
The first half of 2008 clearly belonged to Ronaldo, as he continued his unconscious form, often single-handedly obliterating the opposition en route to a gaudy 42 goals in all competitions for the Red Devils.
Defense was the foundation, and Ronaldo was the impetus which drove Manchester United to win the historic double, claiming success domestically and throughout all of Europe with Premier League and Champions League titles.
The most dominant season by any footballer this generation clearly took its toll on the young winger, as his form in the second half of the calendar year dipped dramatically.
Coming off serious ankle surgery after Euro 2008, Ronaldo, after attempting to hold United hostage for a move to Real Madrid, has struggled to regain any of the form that punctuated his displays during the memorable last season.
Mentally and physically drained, it was not until this weekend's performance against Chelsea that Ronaldo showed signs of emulating last season's sheer dominance.
Staying on top is hard for any club in any sport, even more so for an individual still so young and already with so much success, fame, and fortune.
The Ballon d'Or winner said in Zurich: ''This is the climax of a fantastic era for me. I'm happy and proud about what has been done by my team and what we have won. I am lucky to to be part of the history of a club like Manchester United.''
Messi, meanwhile, has been rioting up and down the Spanish coast this season for Barcelona and looks the early favorite for the 2009 title if each player's form continues.