MONACO (AP) – Bayern Munich midfielder Franck Ribery won the UEFA Best Player in Europe award for the 2012-2013 season on Thursday, beating Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo by a big margin.
Ribery earned 36 votes in the poll of journalists from across Europe, 23 more than four-time reigning world player of the year Messi. Real Madrid star Ronaldo won three votes.
The 30-year-old Ribery was instrumental to Bayern Munich's incredible season in which the team won the Champions League , Bundesliga and German Cup.
The three-man shortlist was selected by a panel of 53 journalists drawn from each of UEFA's member nations. The same journalists then voted for the winner immediately after the draw for this season's Champions League group stage.
UEFA created the award after France Football magazine combined its traditional European accolade with FIFA's world player prize.