The South American Footballer of the Year (Spanish: Futbolista del año en Sudamérica) is an annual association football award presented to the best footballer in South America over the previous calendar year. The award was conceived by Venezuelan newspaper El Mundo, whom awarded it from 1971 to 1985. Uruguayan newspaper El País took over from 1986 onwards. The inaugural winner was Tostão of Cruzeiro.
Originally, journalists could vote for South American players at any club around the world; Mario Kempes was the first player to win the award while playing in a non-South American league. In 1986, there was a change in the rules to prohibit players not playing in South American leagues to win the award. Since 1998, the award could be won by South American players playing their club football in Mexico due to the participation of Mexican clubs in the Copa Libertadores. Three players have won the award three times each: Elías Figueroa, Zico and Carlos Tévez. Figueroa and Tévez are the only players to have won the award three times in a row; they won the award from 1974 to 1976 and 2003 to 2005, respectively. With thirteen awards, Argentine players have won the award the most. Argentine club River Plate have had the most winners with five awards. The most recent recipient of the award is Neymar of Santos, who won the award in 2012.