The 28-year-old has won the prestigious award for the second time in his career after being crowned the best player in the world in Zurich on Monday afternoon
Although the 28-year-old Portuguese failed to claim a major trophy at club level, he has been crowned the world's outstanding footballer over the course of the last 12 months.
Messi had won each of the last four editions of the award, including all three since it was endorsed by FIFA, while Ribery played a pivotal part in a historic treble-winning season for the Bavarians, but Ronaldo's tally of 69 goals in 59 games for club and country in 2013 proved decisive.
Ronaldo previously won the award in 2008 as a Manchester United player, but has since finished runner-up to Messi on three occasions (in 2009, 2011 and 2012).
But as Messi missed much of 2013 through injury, Ronaldo took advantage as he helped Real reach the final of the Copa del Rey and the last four of the Champions League before signing a new deal with the capital club and enjoying his best-ever season start under new coach Carlo Ancelotti in the latter months of the year, as well as single-handedly firing Portugal to the World Cup with all four goals in his side's playoff victory against Portugal over two legs in November.
And the 28-year-old, who opened a museum in December in his native Madeira to display his personal collection of trophies, now has another Ballon d'Or to exhibit alongside his 2008 award.