Argentine Forward Carlos Tevez Wins 3rd Straight Latin America Footballer of the Year Award

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Argentina forward Carlos Tevez has been voted Latin America's Footballer of the Year for the third year running in a poll by Uruguayan newspaper El Pais.

The 21-year-old who won the vote in 2003 and 2004 thanks to his performances with Boca Juniors this year topped the poll after leading Corinthians to the Brazilian championship title in his first season with the club.

Tevez who scored 20 goals in the competition and captained the team was signed by Corinthians at the end of last year in a $18 million move a record between two South American clubs.

Tevez was followed by three players from South American Libertadores Cup winners and World Club champions Sao Paulo -- defender Diego Lugano a Uruguayan international fullback Cicinho and goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni.

He is the first player to win the award three times.

Uruguay's Anibal Ruiz was named coach of the year after leading Paraguay to their third successive World Cup finals. He was followed by Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira and Sao Paulo coach Paulo Autuori.

"I'm very happy to receive this type of recognition Ruiz told Reuters by telephone from Barcelona.

"It has a special meaning because it has been a very tough year added the 58-year-old who survived a campaign to have him ousted as coach following a 4-1 defeat by Brazil.

Paraguay recovered to win three games in a row including a 1-0 win victory over Argentina to seal their place in Germany.

The award the most respected in the region has been given every year since 1986 and is based on a poll of around 400 journalists. Players and coaches have to be based in Latin America for at least part of the year to be eligible.

Previous winners include Brazil's Romario and Cafu and Colombia's Carlos Valderrama.