The 33 year old Japanese striker made history as the first ever Asian winner of a World Player award. She received the award from popstar Shakira.
Sawa beat off Brazilian Marta and denied her a sixth successive triumph. Marta was second placed by picking up 17.28 per cent of the votes, while the fellow japanese received 28.51 per cent of the votes.
Her Japanese World Cup Football winning team's coach Norio Sasaki won the FIFA World Coach Women's Football award. The awards are voted for by the coaches and captains of the world's national teams, as well as international media.