Diego Forlan dedicated his World Cup Golden Ball award to his Uruguay team-mates after picking up the prize.
The Atletico Madrid hit-man was named the best player in South Africa after scoring five goals at the finals and helping his country reach the semi-finals before losing to Holland.
Forlan beat Holland's Wesley Sneijder and Spain's David Villa to the prize and he admits he was surprised to take the accolade.
"It's as great as it is unexpected. I never even imagined something like this, nor did I have my sights set on it," said Forlan
"As I'm a striker, I perhaps could have seen myself chasing the Golden Shoe, and in fact I came close. That would have been more normal.
"But to go from that to winning the prize for the best player, I'm enjoying it and I'm delighted, but I'm very aware that it's the result of the spectacular tournament the team has had.
"It's another reward for this positive period for Uruguayan football."
SadForlan admitted he was leaving South Africa with a tinge of sadness after going so close to reaching the final.
"I'm heading home a little sad because, having watched the final, it hit me how close we were to playing in it," added Forlan.
"Losing the semi-final was a really cruel blow, which took me a couple of days to get over and which I still find hard to swallow."