Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo took home the 2013 FIFA Ballon d’Or on Monday in Zurich, holding off Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Franck Ribery of Bayern Munich to be honored as the best football player in the world.
Ronaldo, 28, also won the award in 2008 in an honor bestowed on a player by national coaches, captains and journalists.
The Portuguese star took to Twitter almost immediately to thank his supporters. He posted: “Great fans lead to great moments. Thank you! #BallondOr2013.”
Ronaldo also added: "Very proud to win the Ballon d’Or for the second time, it means so much to me. I thank my teammates."
In his speech, an emotional and teary-eyed Ronaldo mentioned famed Portugese forward Eusebio, who died on Jan. 5, as well as recently deceased South African leader Nelson Mandela.
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"Eusebio and Mandela were very important for me, I can't speak," Ronaldo said, after accepting the trophy.
The announcement of Ronaldo as the Ballon d’Or winner ends the four-year reign of Messi, who excelled again in 2013, but many believed he was short of his typical top form.
Ronaldo enjoyed a particularly strong, but contentious 2013 for the famed Spanish club. The former Manchester United star has averaged roughly a goal a game in La Liga, but was linked to a possible move out of Madrid and perhaps back to the Premier League in the summer.
There were also questions about his relationship with famed manager Jose Mourinho, who left the club to return to Chelsea. Near the start of the 2012-2013 season, Ronaldo curiously mentioned that he was feeling “sad.” It would be a story that dominated much of the reports about his future with the club in 2013 and beyond.
This season, with Carlo Ancelotti at the helm, Real Madrid trail rivals Barcelona and Atletico Madrid by three points after 19 games, while Ronaldo has been basically as dominant as ever, leading La Liga in goals with 20.
Other awards include Germany goalkeeper Nadine Angerer earning the Women's World Player of the Year award, while former Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes picked up the Coach of the Year award.