While he has not been among the top scorers, it has been his overall contribution that has seen him take home the prize and the way that he has been able to finish above Ronaldo and Messi is a special feat.
Legendary Brazilian forward Marta and first-time nominee Reynald Pedros were rewarded as The Best FIFA Women's Player and Women's coach respectively.
Salah topped the vote on the official Federation Internationale de Football Association website from a list of 10 candidates, with fans opting for the Liverpool striker's moment of individual brilliance in the Merseyside derby.
Messi and Ronaldo have been the only winners of world football's main individual award from Fifa in various guises since 2008, both winning five titles each.
France Football magazine chief editor Pascal Ferre poses with the Golden Ball during a interview with The Associated Press
Ronaldo, who left Madrid in the offseason to join Italian champion Juventus, was knocked out of the World Cup in the round of 16 with European champion Portugal.
Messi didn't make the three-man shortlist and skipped the trip to London. Peru supporters scooped the third Fan Award, thanks to the South American country's dedicated and fanatical following at the World Cup. "You don't have to be a strapping lad to play football".
A Ballon d'Or for the world's top female footballer will be awarded alongside the traditional men's honour this year, France Football announced.
In addition to the top player award, Salah's curling, left-footed strike in an October 12, 2017 match against Everton won the Puskas Award for the best goal.
Former Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois won the goalkeeper of the year prize, beating Leicester's Kasper Schmeichel and Hugo Lloris of Spurs. The German forward missed a weeks' training and a match for his then side VVV-Venlo in the Dutch Eredivisie to donate stem cells for potentially life-saving treatment for a patient battling leukaemia.
Mattis dismisses Iran's revenge threat as tensions climb after attack
He wrote on Twitter: "Terrorists recruited, trained, armed & paid by a foreign regime have attacked Ahvaz. Iranian officials have said they believed the gunmen had links to an "Ahvazi terrorist group".