Cristiano Ronaldo hailed Sir Alex Ferguson as a guiding light after he was named as FIFA's world player of the year.
The Manchester United and Portugal winger finished ahead of runner-up Lionel Messi of Barcelona and Liverpool's Spanish striker Fernando Torres in third place to take the award at a star-studded gala in Zurich on Monday night.
Ronaldo received the award from Pele and paid tribute to the influence of the United manager, saying: "It's true that the manager always has an important role to play. It was a great season for me and for my club, and the coach was important for me because I learned a lot for him."
He added: "His experience over so many years is of paramount importance - it's a privilege to have such a great club manager. I am lucky to be part of the history of a club like Manchester United."
He added: "It is a dream come true and I would like to dedicate this to my family.
"I'm extremely happy, it's one of the most important moments in my life and I hope I can come back here again. After what I did in 2008, to receive this award is amazing and I feel very proud of this achievement.
"This is the climax of a fantastic era for me. I'm happy and proud about what has been done by my team and what we have won."
Torres was honoured to have come third ahead of Kaka, who finished fourth, and Xavi, who was fifth.
The Liverpool striker said: "Ronaldo and Messi are for sure the two best players in the world and to come next to them is a privilege.
"The very fact of being here is a reason to be proud to represent my club and my country. It's a matter of pride to have two Spaniards amongst this group."
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