FIFA The Best 2018: Modric wins, ends Ronaldo and Messi’s reign
Luka Modric has won the world’s best male player at the Best FIFA Football Awards. Modric’s win ends the long-term reign of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Modric saw off Mohamed Salah and former Madrid colleague Ronaldo – who won in 2017 – to the Best Men’s Player award at the ceremony at London’s Royal Festival Hall, yesterday.
The Real Madrid midfielder, 33 won his third Champions League title in a row in May and guided Croatia to their first World Cup final in July.
Modric starred for both club and country as Real won a third straight Champions League, and he inspired Croatia to reach the World Cup final for the first time.
At 33, Croatia’s run to the final was the culmination of a brilliant career for Modric that had often been overshadowed by Ronaldo’s goalscoring in their time together in the Spanish capital, before the Portuguese left for Juventus in July.
Modric scored twice and also netted in penalty shootout wins over Denmark and Russia, but it was his play-making ability that caught the eye in winning the Golden Ball for the best player at the World Cup.
“It was an unbelievable season, the best season in my life,” said Modric.
“I’m still not realising how good a year I had collectively, individually, and I’m very proud for everything I achieved this year and it will be remembered forever.”
For a sixth straight season, Ronaldo was the Champions League’s top scorer with 15 goals and also scored four times at the World Cup, including a hat-trick against Spain in a thrilling 3-3 draw to open Portugal’s campaign.
However, Portugal’s last 16 exit to Uruguay in Russia and Ronaldo’s failure to score in the semi-finals or final of the Champions League opened the door for Modric.
Neither Ronaldo or Messi attended the glitzy ceremony in London with both in action for Juventus and Barcelona respectively on Wednesday.