The Real Madrid and Portgual forward beat Bayern Munich pair Manuel Neuer of Germany and the Netherlands' Arjen Robben.
The voting was by journalists from UEFA's 54 member countries at the Champions League groups draw event.
Ronaldo also ensured Portugal qualified for the World Cup by scoring a memorable hat trick in a playoff win against Sweden.
Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Franck Ribery previously won the award first presented in 2011.
UEFA created the prize after the original European Footballer of the Year honor, known as the Ballon d'Or, merged with FIFA's world player award.
Nadine Kessler of Germany won the women's award.