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Sports

Ribery Voted Germany's Soccer Player of the Year

Bayern Munich midfielder Franck Ribery has been voted Germany's soccer player of the year for the 2007/2008 season in a poll by the country's sports writers.

Munich players Franck Ribery, front, and his teammate Luca Toni, left

Franck Ribery, front, and teammate Luca Toni, left, soared in their first Bundesliga season

The France international had a clear lead over Germany captain Michael Ballack in the poll organized annually by Kicker sports magazine.

Ribery received 224 votes to 115 for Chelsea midfielder Ballack and 108 for Bayern Munich's Italy striker Luca Toni. Bayern's Philipp Lahm and former skipper Oliver Kahn finished fourth and fifth in the poll, Kicker said Wednesday.

Both Ribery and Toni were playing in their first season in the Bundesliga, helping Bayern to a league and cup double.

"It's good for a sportsman to be recognized for his performances. But I have to say that the titles won last year by the team are far more important," the Frenchman told Yahoo Sport.

It was a second major award for 25-year-old Ribery who joined Bayern from Marseille last year and who had already been voted France's player of the year for 2007. German Bundesliga players also chose him as their player of the year in a poll conducted by Kicker towards the end of last season.

“We're delighted and proud that Franck Ribery has been voted 2008 Soccer Player of the Year by an overwhelming majority. The accolade is thoroughly deserved," Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told the club's Web site.

Ex-Bayern hands win coaching accolades

Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld

Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld

Ottmar Hitzfeld, who left Bayern at the end of last season to take over as Switzerland coach, was voted coach of the year.

Hitzfeld received 264 votes, with former Bayern coach Felix Magath, now with Wolfsburg, garnering 131.

The female footballer of the year award went for an eighth successive time to striker Birgit Prinz of FFC Frankfurt.

The Kicker poll, eligible for any soccer player in Germany, or any German soccer player playing abroad, has been awarded since 1960.

Ribery, currently injured, is only the second non-German to win the award following the Brazilian Ailton, then of Werder Bremen, in 2004.

Bayern will be hoping to back up their performance last season with a good showing in the upcoming Champions League under new coach Juergen Klinsmann.

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