Italian football great Roberto Baggio has won this year's World Peace Award, a special award bestowed by Nobel Peace Prize laureates.

Baggio, 43, said he was happier with this latest distinction than any of his on-field achievements, which included being crowned FIFA player of the year in 1993.

He was singled out for his long-time charity work, particularly in Myanmar in trying to win freedom for opposition keader Aung San Suu Kyi and also his fundraising for victims of the Haiti earthquake, according to the office of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates.

Baggio, a convert to Buddhism, is to receive his accolade in the Japanese city of Hiroshima on Friday.

"This is better than the Golden ball award," Baggio told Italian news agency Ansa. "Compared with this other personal and professional achievements pale into insignificance."

Baggio hung up his boots in 2004 after playing for Fiorentina, Juventus and AC Milan and playing in three World Cups.

Last year, Scottish singer Annie Lennox was singled out for her efforts to fight against AIDS in South Africa, following on from U2 singer Bono, who was rewarded in 2008 for his campaigning against poverty and debt in Africa.