Neymar Voted South American Player of 2011

Santos striker Neymar earned the distinction of South American Player of Year according to a vote organized by the Uruguayan newspaper El Pais. Neymar won the award by receiving 130 votes out of 247 from South American journalists, 60 more than second place winner Eduardo Vargas of Chile. Santos midfielder Paulo Henrique Ganso took third place with 33 votes while Uruguayan and Tijuana midfielder Egidio Arevalo Rios took fourth. No Brazilian has won the award since Romario in 2000. Neymar's achievement caps a phenomenal year for the 19 year old Brazilian. Neymar led Santos to victory in the Copa Libertadores and Paulista championships. He also spearheaded Santos's journey to the Club World Cup Final in Japan, where Santos lost 4-0 to Barcelona. Neymar won the trophy by the most lopsided margin in the history of the award and succeeds 2010 winner Andres D'Alessandro of Argentina. The list of the top five winners is as follows:

1. Neymar (Santos) 130 votes
2. Eduardo Vargas ( Chile) 70 votes
3. Paulo Ganso (Santos) 33 votes
4. Egidio Arévalo (Xolos de Tijuana)
5. Rolando Schiavi (Boca Juniors)

El Pais's South American dream team features the following four Argentines, three Chileans, two Brazilians and one player each from Uruguay and Ecuador:

Johnny Herrera ( Chile) | Chile
Néicer Reasco (LDU Quito) | Ecuador
Marcos González ( Chile) | Chile
Rolando Schiavi (Boca Juniors) | Argentina
Clemente Rodríguez (Boca Juniors) | Argentina
Egidio Arévalo (Xolos de Tijuana) | Uruguay
Paulo Ganso (Santos) | Brazil
Juan Riquelme (Boca Juniors) | Argentina
Eduardo Vargas ( Chile) | Chile
Hernán Barcos (LDU Quito) | Argentina
Neymar (Santos) | Brazil

The South American Footballer of the Year originated from Venezuelan newspaper El Mundo. El Mundo presided over the award from 1971 to 1985, before the Uruguayan newspaper El Pais took over stewardship of the award in 1986. The most lopsided result of the South American Player of the Year, prior to Neymar, was Juan Sebastian Veron in 2009, when the Argentine garnered 109 votes.