Bayern Munich and France midfielder Franck Ribery won the UEFA Best Player in Europe award for the 2012-2013 season on Thursday, beating Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo by a big margin.
Ribery earned 36 votes in the poll of journalists from across Europe — 23 more than four-time reigning world player of the year Messi. Real Madrid forward Ronaldo won three votes.
“It’s a very special moment to be standing here this evening,” Ribery said after receiving the award in Monaco following the draw for the group stage of the Champions League.
The 30-year-old Ribery was instrumental to Bayern Munich’s incredible season in which the team won the Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup.
“This distinction rewards Franck for the magnificent season he had with his club and above all underlines his magnificent talent which allows him to be considered among the best players in the world,” French Football Federation President Noel Le Graet said at the ceremony.
The three-man shortlist was selected by a panel of 53 journalists drawn from each of UEFA’s member nations. The same journalists then voted for the winner.
UEFA created the award after France Football magazine combined its traditional European accolade with FIFA’s world player prize.