Real Madrid striker Ronaldo has been named World Soccer magazine's player of the year following his heroics for Brazil in the 2002 World Cup finals.
Ronaldo came back after three years of injury blight to score eight goals at the World Cup, including both in the 2-0 final victory over Germany.
It was the highest individual tally in the finals since West Germany's Gerd Mueller hit 10 in 1970.
The latest issue of the English-based magazine, published on Friday, said Ronaldo polled more than 26 per cent of the votes cast by readers. The prestigious awards began in 1982.
Midfielder Michael Ballack, who helped Germany to the World Cup final and inspired Bayer Leverkusen to the final of the Champions League as well as runners-up in the Bundesliga and German Cup, was second.
Ronaldo's Madrid and Brazil team mate, defender Roberto Carlos, was third.
Ronaldo has also been shortlisted for FIFA's World Player of the Year award, along with Germany goalkeeper Oliver Kahn and French midfielder Zinedine Zidane.
Ronaldo and Zidane have both won the FIFA award twice previously, while Ronaldo won World Soccer magazine's award in 1996 when he was only 20.
Last year's winner, Michael Owen of Liverpool, was ninth in this year's poll.
Guus Hiddink, the Dutchman who took South Korea to the semi-finals of the World Cup, was named manager of the year.
Brazil's Luiz Felipe Scolari was second ahead of Arsenal's French manager Arsene Wenger.
World Player of the Year.
1. Ronaldo 26.17 per cent
2. Michael Ballack 17.69
3. Roberto Carlos 8.48
4. Zinedine Zidane 5.95
5. Oliver Kahn 4.87
Manager of the Year
1. Guus Hiddink (South Korea) 28.33
2. Luiz Felipe Scolari (Brazil) 16.78
3. Arsene Wenger (Arsenal) 14.26
4. Klaus Toppmoeller (Leverkusen) 8.84
5. Rudi Voeller (Germany) 4.51
World Team of the Year
1. Brazil 24.36
2. Real Madrid 14.44
3. Arsenal 11.73
4. South Korea 10.46
5. Turkey 8.64