In an evening sprinkled by show business, with star of small and large screen Idris Elba hosting proceedings, it was a heart-warming story fit for Hollywood that saw the FIFA Fair Play Award handed to Lennart Thy.
Argentina and Barcelona forward Messi was snubbed for the top-three of the Men's Award which consists of Ronaldo (Juventus and Portugal), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool and Egypt) and Luka Modric (Real Madrid and Croatia).
Modric scored twice and also netted in penalty shootout wins over Denmark and Russian Federation, but it was his playmaking ability that caught the eye in winning the Golden Ball for the best player at the World Cup.
There was also room for Chelsea and Belgium forward Eden Hazard, and his club mate N'Golo Kante, while Manchester United's David de Gea was named in goal and Real Madrid's Raphael Varane took his place in the heart of the defence.
Salah's goal in Liverpool's 1-1 draw against Everton was a mixture of strength and footwork.
In other categories, the Best Coach award looks destined for Didier Deschamp after his World Cup victory with France, though there is also competition from Zinedine Zidane to retain his crown.
"I'm very happy and very proud", he said at the podium.
Many people expected either Gareth Bale or Cristiano Ronaldo to win the award after both scored stunning overhead kicks in the Champions League last season, with Bale's coming against the Reds in the final, but it was Salah's goal which was voted as the best of the season.
Luka Modric narrowly missed out on winning the World Cup this year, but he did walk away with FIFA's highest individual honor on Monday.
Modric won the award ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah.
"These things were not a burden, they only further motivated me", Modric said at the World Cup.
Thanks to those who voted for me.
Four Real Madrid teammates made the cut.
Former Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois won the goalkeeper of the year prize, beating Leicester's Kasper Schmeichel and Hugo Lloris of Spurs.
Indications suggest Real Madrid midfielder Modric is the favourite, having also won the World Cup's Golden Ball and UEFA's Player of the Year award.
The victor of the FIFA Award is picked after the votes are split between national coaches of FIFA Member Associations, their team captains, a select group of media from those countries, and fans.