Cristiano Ronaldo ended the four-year dominance of Lionel Messi when he was awarded the 2013 FIFA Ballon d'Or in Zurich on Monday.
The tearful 28-year-old Real Madrid and Portugal star, who won the award in 2008, had been the overwhelming favourite to pip Barcelona and Argentina wonder Messi, winner the previous four years, and France's Franck Ribery, who claimed the treble with Bayern Munich in 2013.
Ronaldo won with 27.99% of the votes ahead of Messi (24.72%) while Ribery was third (23.36%) according to France Football, co-organisers of the award with FIFA.
News of Ronaldo's success filtered through from France Football just moments before the official announcement in Zurich.
Ronaldo, who was widely expected to win after news spread on social media earlier in the day that seven members of his family were joining him in Zurich and his club Real were transmitting the award ceremony live on their official television channel in a change to the programmed schedule, broke down in tears on stage during his victory speech.
Ribery, who won the Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup with Bayern last season, before adding the European Supercup and Club World Cup before the turn of the year, had been the early front-runner.
But a controversial two-week extension to the voting deadline for international coaches, captains and media meant those casting their ballots could take into consideration Ronaldo's remarkable hat-trick to beat Sweden in the World Cup play-offs in November.