Ballon d’Or: Luka Modric ends Messi and Ronaldo’s dominance

Written By: BBC/Hunja Macharia
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Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder Luka Modric won the 2018 Ballon d’Or, becoming the first player other than Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo to claim the award in more than a decade.

Modric, 33, won his third successive Champions League in May before helping Croatia to a first World Cup final.

Former Brazil and AC Milan forward Kaka, in 2007, was the last player other than Messi or Ronaldo to win it.

Ronaldo, who joined Juventus from Real Madrid in the summer, came second.

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Barcelona forward Messi finished fifth, with Atletico Madrid frontman Antoine Griezmann and PSG attacker Kylian Mbappe – both of whom won the World Cup with France – third and fourth respectively.

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Victory caps a stellar year for Modric, who also was named the world’s top male player at the Best Fifa Football Awards and received the Golden Ball award for the best player at the World Cup.

Speaking to BBC Sport, Modric dedicated the award to all of the other players who have missed out in the 10 years dominated by Messi and Ronaldo.

“Maybe in the past there are some players who could have won the Ballon d’Or like Xavi, Andres Iniesta or [Wesley] Sneijder but people finally now are looking at someone else,” he said.

“This award is for all the players who probably deserved to win it and didn’t. It was a really special year for me.

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“It is difficult to express my emotion and how I feel in words. It is something unique for me. It was very special.”

Modric described Ronaldo and Messi as “phenomenal players”, adding: “To win means I did something really special on the pitch this year, that’s why 2017-18 was the year for me.”

Modric was one of eight Real Madrid players in the top 30, including Wales international Gareth Bale in 17th.

Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah, who set a record for the most goals in a 38-game English top-flight campaign last season, was the highest-placed Premier League player in sixth.

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Chelsea forward Eden Hazard was eighth, followed by Belgium team-mate Kevin de Bruyne, of Manchester City, in ninth.

Tottenham striker Harry Kane, who captained England to the World Cup semi-finals and won the Golden Boot, finished 10th as the only Englishman on the shortlist.

Chelsea and France midfielder N’Golo Kante was 11th, with World Cup-winning team-mate Paul Pogba, of Manchester United, finishing 15th.

Sergio Aguero, a Premier League winner with Manchester City last season, was 16th, while Liverpool’s Champions League finalists Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane were 19th and 22nd respectively.

Brazil goalkeeper Alisson, who joined Liverpool from Roma in the summer, was 25th, with Tottenham and France captain Hugo Lloris 29th.

 

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