Croatian and Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric on Monday night pipped Juventus’s talisman Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona Lionel Messi to win the 2018 Ballon d’Or.
Modric, who was closely followed by Ronaldo and Antonio Griezmann as second and third respectively, won the Ballon d’Or after he played an integral role in Real Madrid winning a fourth Champions League title in five years and then skippered Croatia to their first World Cup final in Russia.
He finally put an end to the 10-year duopoly of Ronaldo and Messi, who have won the trophy five times each.
The midfielder basked in his Ballon d’Or success after ending the duo’s grip on the award.
Luka Modric said his Ballon d’Or win is for all the players who deserved the accolade but missed out because of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s dominance of the coveted award.
Barcelona great Messi and Juventus superstar Ronaldo had dominated the individual award, winning the honour five times apiece over 10 years.
However, Modric ended their decade-long duopoly on the prize following Croatia’s run to the World Cup final and Madrid’s third successive Champions League crown.
Modric – who was also named FIFA’s Best Men’s Player this year – acknowledged Messi and Ronaldo’s quality but added that his success is a “victory for football”.
“These two [Ronaldo and Messi] were on some exceptional level for the last 10 years,” Modric said.
“Maybe in the past there are some players that could win the Ballon d’Or, like Xavi, [Andres] Iniesta or [Wesley] Sneijder, but it didn’t happen.
“People are finally, I don’t know, they wanted something else. I think it’s [a] victory for football tonight.
“I am happy that I am the winner but this award is for all these players that probably deserved to win but didn’t.”
Ronaldo finished second behind his former Real Madrid team-mate while Messi finished fifth overall.
Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe came third and fourth in the voting, respectively.
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