The FIFA World Player of the Year is an association football award presented to the female player voted as best in the world by coaches and captains of international teams. It began in 1991 as an award for the best men's player in the world, and from 2001 to 2009 both men's and women's awards were presented. As of 2010, the equivalent men's award is the FIFA Ballon d'Or. In a voting system based on positional voting, each coach has three votes, worth five points, three points and one point, and the three finalists are ordered based on total number of points.
During the men's era, European-based Brazilian players dominated the award, winning 8 out of 18 times, compared to three wins – the second most – for French players. In terms of the number of individual players who have received the award from each country, Brazil leads with five, followed by Italy and Portugal with two each.
The award's youngest male winner was Ronaldo, who won at the age of 20 in 1996. He won it again in 1997 and 2002. Both Ronaldo and Ronaldinho won twice in a row. Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane won the award three times. The oldest winner is Fabio Cannavaro, who was 33 when he won in 2006.
So far, only seven female players – three Germans, two Americans, one Brazilian, and one Japanese – have won the award. Marta has won it five times in a row, Birgit Prinz won three times in a row, and Mia Hamm won twice in a row. The oldest winner is Nadine Angerer, who was 35 when she won in 2013; she is also the only goalkeeper to win either the women's or men's award. The youngest winner is Marta, who won in 2006 at age 20.
Following criticism from some sections of the media over nominations in previous years, in 2004 FIFA drew up a short list of 35 men and 21 women from which national team managers and, for the first time, team captains and representatives from FIFPro (the worldwide representative organisation for professional players) could vote.
*Player was a member of the club for the second half of the calendar year (The first part of a new season - August to December) **Player was a member of the club for the first half of the calendar year (The second part of a finished season - January to May)
***Player retired halfway through the calendar year so was a member of the club only for the first half of the calendar year (The second part of a finished season - January to May)