Luka Modric wins 2018 Ballon d’Or, ends dominance of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo

Sports

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.

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.

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.

“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.

Lyon and Norway striker Ada Hegerberg, 23,  won the inaugural Women’s Ballon d’Or  while Mbappe, 19, became the first winner of the Kopa Trophy – awarded to the best under-21 player and selected by former Ballon d’Or winners. The top 10

1. Luka Modric (Real Madrid and Croatia)
2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus and Portugal)
3. Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid and France)
4. Kylian Mbappe (Paris St-Germain and France)
5. Lionel Messi (Barcelona and Argentina)
6. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool and Egypt)
7. Raphael Varane (Real Madrid and France)
8. Eden Hazard (Chelsea and Belgium)
9. Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City and Belgium)
10. Harry Kane (Tottenham and England) How did Premier League players do?

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.

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. What is the Ballon d’Or?

The Ballon d’Or has been awarded by France Football every year since 1956, with England’s Stanley Matthews the first winner.

It was only for European players until 1995, when it expanded to become open for any player at a European club. From 2007 it opened up to the rest of the world.

The 30-man list of nominees is compiled by the editorial staff of the French magazine, with the winner voted for by journalists from around the world, with one representative per nation.

From 2010 to 2015 it merged with Fifa’s awards, but they split and the world governing body set up its own awards again in 2016.

Ballon d’Or winners: Ronaldo & Messi dominate since 2008
2007 Kaka Cristiano Ronaldo Lionel Messi
2008 Cristiano Ronaldo Lionel Messi Fernando Torres
2009 Lionel Messi Cristiano Ronaldo Xavi
2010 Lionel Messi Andres Iniesta Xavi
2011 Lionel Messi Cristiano Ronaldo Xavi
2012 Lionel Messi Cristiano Ronaldo Andres Iniesta
2013 Cristiano Ronaldo Lionel Messi Franck Ribery
2014 Cristiano Ronaldo Lionel Messi Manuel Neuer
2015 Lionel Messi Cristiano Ronaldo Neymar
2016 Cristiano Ronaldo Lionel Messi Antoine Griezmann
2017 Cristiano Ronaldo Lionel Messi Neymar
2018 Luka Modric Cristiano Ronaldo Antoine Griezmann

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