The Portugal and Real Madrid forward was so overcome with emotion he could barely complete his acceptance speech.
“First of all, I have to say a great thanks to all of my team mates with the club and the national team,” Ronaldo said as he cried after accepting his prize.
“Without all of their efforts this would not have been possible. I am very happy, it is very difficult to win this award.
“Everybody that has been involved with me on a personal level, I have to thank. My wife, my friends, my son. It is a tremendously emotional moment. All I can say is thank you to everybody that has been involved.”
Argentine Messi, hampered by injury problems at Barcelona late in the year, finished second in the poll, officially known as the FIFA Ballon d’Or. Frenchman Franck Ribery was third.
Jupp Heynckes, now retired, was named coach of the year for the first time after his Bayern Munich team won an unprecedented Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup treble.
Ronaldo secured the title with 1,365 points, ahead of Lionel Messi with 1,205 points and Franck Ribery with 1,127 points.
The votes are held by the captains and coaches of the 209 national teams, although FIFA said that only 184 of them took part in the poll, plus 173 selected media representatives.
Ronaldo was also voted FIFA Player of the Year in 2008, before Messi began a run of four successive titles.
In 2010 and 2011, the award was fused with the Ballon D’Or award previously handed out by France Football magazine.
Although Ronaldo did not win any major titles last season, he has been unable to stop scoring goals.
The 28-year-old has 20 La Liga goals this season for Real Madrid and netted a record nine times in the Champions League group stage.
The high point of his year, however, came with Portugal when he scored a stunning hat-trick and almost single-handedly beat Sweden 3-2 in the second leg of their World Cup playoff tie to send his country through to the finals.
Joining Ronaldo in the team of the year were Manuel Neuer in goal, Philipp Lahm, Sergio Ramos, Thiago Silva and Dani Alves in defence, midfielders Andres Iniesta, Xavi and Ribery with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Messi in attack.
The Afghanistan Football Federation won the Fair Play award after hosting their first international match at home, a friendly against Pakistan, for 10 years in August.
Ibrahimovic was judged to have scored the best goal of the year, an amazing overhead kick from near the touchline in a friendly against England.
Germany goalkeeper Nadine Angerer was named the women’s Player of the Year.
Former Brazil striker Pele was given a special “Prix d’Honneur” for his lifetime achievements. DM
Photo: Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo is congratulated by Pele as FIFA President Sepp Blatter (R) looks on after being awarded the FIFA Ballon d’Or 2013 in Zurich January 13, 2014. Portugal and Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo was named the world’s best footballer for the second time on Monday, preventing his great rival Lionel Messi from winning the award for a fifth year in a row. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
Watch Pauli van Wyk’s Cat Play The Piano Here!
No, not really. But now that we have your attention, we wanted to tell you a little bit about what happened at SARS.
Tom Moyane and his cronies bequeathed South Africa with a R48-billion tax shortfall, as of February 2018. It's the only thing that grew under Moyane's tenure... the year before, the hole had been R30.7-billion. And to fund those shortfalls, you know who has to cough up? You - the South African taxpayer.
It was the sterling work of a team of investigative journalists, Scorpio’s Pauli van Wyk and Marianne Thamm along with our great friends at amaBhungane, that caused the SARS capturers to be finally flushed out of the system. Moyane, Makwakwa… the lot of them... gone.
But our job is not yet done. We need more readers to become Maverick Insiders, the friends who will help ensure that many more investigations will come. Contributions go directly towards growing our editorial team and ensuring that Daily Maverick and Scorpio have a sustainable future. We can’t rely on advertising and don't want to restrict access to only those who can afford a paywall subscription. Membership is about more than just contributing financially – it is about how we Defend Truth, together.
So, if you feel so inclined, and would like a way to support the cause, please join our community of Maverick Insiders.... you could view it as the opposite of a sin tax. And if you are already Maverick Insider, tell your mother, call a friend, whisper to your loved one, shout at your boss, write to a stranger, announce it on your social network. The battle for the future of South Africa is on, and you can be part of it.
An accountant named Kushim was the first recorded name in history.