However, the Manchester United striker's cause was not helped by his own international boss as Santos snubbed his star man from his three selections.
Ronaldo became the highest-scoring international player in history during 2021, an achievement which earned him a special FIFA award at Monday night's ceremony.
However, Santos chose not to recognise that feat in his voting, going against the pattern of players and coaches choosing candidates with whom they have worked or still work.
The 36-year-old was at least chosen by his Manchester United teammate Victor Lindelof as the best player of 2021, with the centre-back voting in his role as Sweden captain.
Ronaldo selected Lewandowski, Kante and Jorginho as his own top three, leaving Messi out of his voting. body check tags ::