London, Dec.2 : Cristiano Ronaldo has been named the winner of the 2008 Ballon d'Or award.
According to The Independent, Ronaldo hailed it as "one of the most beautiful days of my life" and vowed to keep improving.
The Manchester United winger was named as 2007 winner Kaka's successor after convincingly seeing off competition from Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Liverpool striker Fernando Torres.
Of the 96 top journalists polled by France Football magazine, 77 voted the Portugal winger as their number one player this year and every one placed him in their top five after he scored 42 goals in United's Barclays Premier League and Champions League winning season.
He polled a massive 446 points from a maximum 480, finishing comfortably ahead of second-placed Messi (281) and third-placed Torres (179).
In so doing the 23-year-old becomes the third Portuguese player to lift the famous trophy - after legendary pair Eusebio and Luis Figo - and joins fellow Red Devils George Best, Denis Law and Bobby Charlton in taking the gong.
"I want to thank those who voted for me, those who know me and those who live with me," Ronaldo said.
Ronaldo's 42 club goals last season propelled United to glory in both the Barclays Premier League and Champions League.
Story first published: Tuesday, December 2, 2008, 17:07 [IST]