Messi was incredibly not nominated for the award, as Ronaldo, Luka Modrić and Mohamed Salah were deemed to have had better seasons than the Argentine.
Salah did not go away empty handed, however, as he picked up the Puskas award for best goal for his strike against Everton in the Merseyside derby last December.
Ten goals were shortlisted for the award, with many pundits predicting a win for Gareth Bale's acrobatic volley in the Champions League final for Real Madrid against Liverpool or Cristiano Ronaldo's similarly memorable overhead kick against Juventus.
That is why Modric has the better chance of winning the award by the virtue of his silver medal from the Federation Internationale de Football Association world cup in Russia.
"Messi and Ronaldo are fantastic players, but this year is the year of Luka". Receiving a pass from right back Joe Gomez, Salah shrugged off Cuca Martina, twisted inside Idrissa Gueye, and curled a left-footed shot around Ashley Williams and into the top corner.
'I've always wanted to see a woman win this prestigious award, ' Brazil's Marta added.
France's World Cup-winning coach Didier Deschamps won the best coach of the year prize in recognition for his work in leading Les Bleus to success in Russian Federation.
Modric believes he had the standout year of his career, winning the Champions League with Madrid and captaining Croatia to the final of the World Cup.
Deschamps' win was no surprise, given the focus on Russian Federation 2018, and he used his acceptance speech to warmly thanks his backroom staff and players.
"Thank you, everyone", the 26-year-old said.
"We all know that being a coach, alone we can't do anything". I would like to also thank those who voted for more.
Meanwhile, Belgium's Thibaut Courtois added the Federation Internationale de Football Association goalkeeper award to the Golden Glove he collected in Russia for helping his side to third place with three clean sheets.
All three enjoyed great World Cup campaigns, with Courtois helping Belgium to a third-place finish.
Real Madrid's Croatian midfielder Luka Modric looks on during the UEFA Champions League group G football match between Real Madrid CF and AS Roma at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on September 19, 2018.