Croatia’s Luka Modric finally end the 10-year duopoly of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Ronaldo and Messi have dominated the award for the last decade, claiming it five times each, but a new name was read out as this year’s winner Luka Modric was declared at the Grand Palais, just off the Champs-Elysees.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have had a stranglehold on the Ballon d’Or award for the last decade, claiming it five times each, but during a glittering ceremony at the Grand Palais, just off the Champs-Elysees, it was Modric’s night.
After a vote by 180 journalists from around the world, Ronaldo finished in second behind his former Madrid teammate, while Antoine Griezmann of France and Atletico Madrid rounded out the top three.
After a year which included a disappointing World Cup title defence and losing record, there was no German representation on the 30-man shortlist for the first time since 2009.
The lack of one standout French candidate cleared the path for Modric, who heroically helped his country to the World Cup final before being beaten by France in Moscow. The 33-year-old was also at his influential best as Real retained their Champions League crown for the second year running.
After claiming the Golden Ball for the best player at the World Cup, UEFA’s player of the season and FIFA’s best player award in which he beat out Mohamed Salah and Ronaldo, the Ballon d’Or is the latest addition to the Croatian’s enviable collection of individual awards in 2018.
“Modric is an exceptional player. He has shown that throughout his career, not just at Real but also at his former clubs and with his country,” said Real coach Santiago Solari of a player who grew up during Croatia’s independence war. “He must have grown up in a very hard context and I wonder if that helped him to have the character he has.”
The news follows on from the announcement that Modric will not face charges of giving false testimony in the criminal trial of his former boss at Dinamo Zagreb, who was convicted in June of evading tax and siphoning transfer fees from the club.
Mbappe takes inaugural Kopa Trophy
Earlier in the night, Kylian Mbappe was named winner of the Kopa Trophy for young player of the year. The Paris Saint-Germain forward, who does not turn 20 until later this month, starred as France won the World Cup and also won the best young player award in Russia.
The new award – named after French former Ballon d’Or winner Raymond Kopa – was voted for by 33 living former winners of the main Ballon d’Or prize. Mbappe was also among the 30 nominees to win that award, finishing fourth. He has scored 32 goals in 56 games for club and country in the calendar year.