There were no surprises in the voting, as the young Brazilian crushed the opposition to pick up El Pais' prestigious award by a record margin
The 19-year-old forward beat Universidad de Chile star Eduardo Vargas by 60 votes in the 26th edition of the prize, taking 130 of the 247 ballots cast by journalists across the continent. The tally beats the previous record, set by Estudiantes legend Juan Sebastian Veron in 2009 with 109.
Santos team-mate Ganso took third place in the vote, while Uruguay and Tijuana midfielder Egidio Arevalo Rios was fourth.
Neymar was chosen thanks to a stunning year for both club and country. He lifted the Copa Libertadores and Paulista titles in Peixe colours, also making the final of the Club World Cup before losing heavily to Barcelona. He also starred in Brazil's successful South American Under-20 Championship, scoring nine times as the Selecao youngsters romped to first place in February.
Uruguay's Oscar Tabarez was also celebrating after winning the Coach of the Year prize for the second year in a row. Honoured for his 2011 Copa America triumph, Tabarez beat out Universidad de Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli, who won both domestic titles and the Copa Sudamericana at the helm of the Santiago team.