(CNN) -- An emotional Cristiano Ronaldo failed to hold back the tears as the Real Madrid and Portugal star won the Ballon d'Or at a star-studded FIFA Awards Ceremony in Switzerland.
The forward finally ended the reign of Argentina's Lionel Messi, who had held the award since 2009, with Frenchman Franck Ribery finishing third.
"I am deeply moved," said the 28-year-old, who had played down the importance of the trophy in the run-up to Monday's ceremony.
The former Manchester United star, who scored 66 goals in 56 games last year, was previously crowned the world's best in 2008.
"There are no words to describe how I feel," said Ronaldo, who won the prize despite winning nothing with either club or country in 2013.
"I'm delighted, I want to thank all my team-mates, all my family in the room. Those who know me know how many sacrifices I made to win this reward.
"Each time is different. But I would say that this second Ballon d'Or is more emotional, because my mother and my son (who joined him on stage) are here."
Ronaldo won with 27.99% of the votes ahead of Messi (24.72%) while Ribery was third (23.36%) according to France Football, who jointly organize the award with FIFA.
In 2013, he outscored Messi, who has struggled with injury, and scored a hat-trick to help his country negotiate a tricky World Cup playoff against Sweden in order to secure a berth at Brazil 2014.
Ronaldo's golden ball is likely to take pride of place in his new museum.
At last month's opening in his hometown of Funchal, Ronaldo told reporters: "I have room for more trophies. I don't really want to mention specific ones. All I want is to win more awards and, if the Ballon d'Or comes, there is extra room here."
The Ballon d'Or is voted for by national team coaches, national team captains and a selection of journalists from around the world, selected by both France Football magazine and FIFA.
The evening's other winners included Jupp Heynckes, the now-retired German who was crowned Men's Coach of the Year after leading Bayern Munich to an unprecedented Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup treble.
He beat Alex Ferguson, who led Manchester United to a record 20th English championship in his final season at Old Trafford, and Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp, whose German side dazzled on their way to the 2013 European Champions League final.
On a memorable night for Germany, national team coach Silvia Neid was named Women's Coach of the Year while goalkeeper Nadine Angerer won the Women's World Player award.
Having saved two penalties in a 1-0 win over Norway in the final Euro 2013, Angerer beat off challenges from five-time winner Marta of Brazil and American Abby Wambach, the leading goalscorer in international football.
Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic won the FIFA Puskas honor, awarded to the scorer of the best goal and voted for by the public, following his stunning overhead strike against England.
Meanwhile, legendary Brazilian Pele, rated by many as the best footballer of all time, received FIFA's maiden Prix d'Honneur.
The organizers said they were righting a wrong, since Pele - the only man to have won the World Cup three times - had been ineligible to win the Ballon d'Or during his playing days as it was only for Europe-based players at the time.
"I promised to my family that I would not cry but I am emotional," said the man who won football's greatest tournament in 1958, 1962 and 1970.
"I got so many trophies and prizes but I was jealous because all of those guys who got the Ballon d'Or, which I couldn't get because I didn't play in Europe. Now I thank God that I can complete my trophies at home."
The FIFA/FIFPro World XI was also unveiled and was dominated by Spain-based players, with six of the side playing in La Liga, with three from Germany and two from France. FIFPro, the world players' union, invited 52,000 of its members to select their team of the year.
FIFA/FIFPro World XI: Neuer (Bayern Munich and Germany); Dani Alves (Barcelona and Brazil), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid and Spain), Thiago Silva (PSG and Brazil), Lahm (Bayern Munich and Germany); Iniesta (Barcelona and Spain), Xavi (Barcelona and Spain), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich and France); Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid and Portugal), Messi (Barcelona and Argentina), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris Saint-Germain and Sweden).
The glittering ceremony - which was hosted by former Dutch international Ruud Gullit and Brazilian model Fernanda Lima - was attended by such footballing luminaries as Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo (Brazil), Cafu, UEFA President Michel Platini and France coach Didier Deschamps among others.
Yet the night belonged to the Portuguese Ronaldo, who had finished runner-up in the voting for three of the previous four years.
Having scored 42 goals so far this season, he made his debut for Sporting Lisbon in 2002 before leaving for Manchester United the following campaign.
There he claimed three English Premier League titles, the FA Cup and the European Champions League in 2008, the same year he was first crowned by FIFA as the world's best footballer.
Ronaldo swapped Manchester for Madrid for a then world record fee in 2009. Since joining Real, he has been prolific, averaging over a goal a game for the nine-time European champions.
Messi, meanwhile, helped Barcelona to the Spanish league title last year, while Ribery was part of the all-conquering Bayern team that triumphed in five different competitions in 2013.
In 2010 and 2011, FIFA's World Footballer of the Year prize was fused with the Ballon D'Or award previously handed out by France Football.