Croatia captain and Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric is the winner of Football’s most prestigious award Ballon d’Or 2018. It was awarded at the Grand Palais in Paris on Monday. He is now officially the best footballer in the world, which rounds off the most amazing season of his career.
Luka Modric has become the first Croatian to achieve the most prestigious award in football.
Luka Modric was the favourite to win the award after his excellent performance at the 2018 World Cup in Russia and his fourth Champions League title with Real Madrid. Luka Modric led Croatia to the World Cup final in 2018.
Earlier this week, Luka Modric was also named the best player in the world by the International Federation of Football & Statistics – and he was also selected as the ‘Sportsman of the Year’ by lifestyle magazine Gentlemen’s Quarterly (GQ).
The new ‘King of Football’ has thus broken the decade-long Ballon d’Or dominance of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. The mother of all football awards comes after Modric won the Golden Ball at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, and was named the best footballer in Europe and the world by UEFA and FIFA.
Luka Modric after accepting the award said, “The best things never come easy. It is an honour, a pleasure, and I still can’t believe this happened.”
Barcelona forward and five-time Ballon d’Or champion Lionel Messi was not even in the top three. The Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric overtook former teammate Ronaldo and Antoine Griezmann to win the glorious award for the first time. Lionel Messi scored 49 goals for Barcelona club and Argentina, leading his side to win the La Liga title but a poor World Cup show with Argentina deprived him of the prestigious award this year.
As per the results, Cristiano Ronaldo finished second this year. Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann finished with the third rank, a position ahead of his France team-mate Kylian Mbappe. Lionel Messi, who won a league and Copa del Rey double with Barcelona, ranked fifth. Ada Hegerberg is the first winner of the all-new Ballon d’Or feminine.
The Ballon d’Or winner was selected by 200 sports journalists from around the world. The criteria included both individual and team performances (titles and trophies), the player’s class (talent and fair play), and the player’s overall career. With a list of 30 players, each jury member chose their top five and ranked them using a point system: 6, 4, 3, 2 and 1, respectively.