Van Nistelrooy, Celtic fans win UEFA awards

 

Ruud van Nistelrooy has been named as the best striker in Europe by UEFA, who have also handed a historic fair play award to Celtic fans.

The Manchester United frontman was honoured at UEFA's European Football Awards here in Monte Carlo after he finished top scorer in last season's Champions League with 12 goals.

Celtic's fans were recognised as a result of the UEFA Cup final, when 70,000 supporters of the Glasgow side descended on Seville for the match against Portugal and impressed UEFA's leaders with their vocal support and excellent behaviour.

It is the first time the award has been made to supporters rather than to a club, and Celtic chairman Brian Quinn told The Press Association: "The award was principally because of Seville - the remarkable and unbelievable scenes there we will never see again - or at least not until we get to our next final.

"It is the first time any supporters have been given this award and it's a fantastic recognition.

A special plaque will be unveiled at Parkhead before one of the club's games in September to commemorate the award.

Juventus' Gianluigi Buffon was named the best goalkeeper and the overall most valuable player, and Pavel Nedved from the same club picked up the award for the best midfielder.

Real Madrid's Brazilian full-back Roberto Carlos was named best defender, while AC Milan skipper Paolo Maldini was given the UEFA president's award in recognition of his 17-year career and for captaining the winning side last season - the first time the award has gone to a current player.

A joint award was also made to last season's victorious coaches Carlo Ancelotti of Milan and Porto's Jose Mourinho.