ROME: Italian official Pierluigi Collina was named best referee in the world for the fifth consecutive year by the international federation of football history and statistics on Tuesday.
Collina, who took charge of last year’s World Cup final between Brazil and West Germany, collected 222 points, finishing well clear of second-placed Urs Meier of Switzerland and Denmark’s Kim Milton Nielsen, who came in third.
“The year 2002 was an extraordinary year for me, but now I am just looking forward to the next 12 months,” the bald-headed official said.
“I am obviously very proud to be named as the best referee. It is a clear signal that I am well respected, but this honour is also testimony to the good work done by the Italian refereeing system.”
Collina said his proudest moment came last year in Yokohama, Japan when he refereed the World Cup final.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he said. “It was an honour that few referees in history have had the chance to experience.” – AFP