The Portuguese, who went on to win, selected the Monaco striker as his best player of 2013 as Fifa reveals the breakdown of votes among the national team captains
The Portuguese, who collected the title for the second time after previously prevailing in 2008, saw off competition from Franck Ribery and Messi to earn 27.99 per cent of the total vote.
In what will be seen as a political vote, Ronaldo, who is represented alongside Falcao by superagent Jorge Mendes, selected the Colombian attacker as most deserving of the accolade, with Gareth Bale and Mesut Ozil his choices in second and third.
There was similarly tactical voting from Messi, however, with the Argentine picking a trio of Barcelona team-mates as his top three in the form of Andres Iniesta, Xavi and Neymar, respectively.
Of the other major nations, Brazil captain Thiago Silva voted for Messi and England's Steven Gerrard selected Ronaldo ahead of his Liverpool team-mate, Luis Suarez. Hugo Lloris, the captain of France, chose countryman Ribery, while Germany's Philipp Lahm also opted for his Bayern Munich colleague.
Italy's Gianluigi Buffon took the choice of Juventus compatriot Andrea Pirlo, while Spain and Real Madrid skipper Iker Casillas also stayed close to home by selecting Ronaldo.
Netherlands' Robin van Persie proved loyal to international team-mate Arjen Robben, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic, in his role as Sweden captain, opted for Ribery to receive the award.