Ronaldo accepted FIFA's top prize at Monday's ceremony in Zurich, co-hosted by Hollywood actress Eva Longoria.
He received 34.54% of the total vote to beat Barcelona and Argentina striker Lionel Messi (26.42%) and Antoine Griezmann (7.53%) of Atletico Madrid and France.
The 31-year-old had a stellar 2016 and he called it "the best of my career."
"I had a lot of doubts but the trophy showed that I lived up to that. After I won what I did, I had no doubts," he said.