Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder Luka Modric has broken the 10-year dominance of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to take the Ballon d’Or award as the best player in the world in 2018.
Modric, 33, has been instrumental for Madrid this year, helping them to win their third consecutive Champions League title. In July, he led Croatia to the runners-up spot at the World Cup in Russia. He also won the Golden Ball award as the best player at the tournament.
Juventus forward Ronaldo, who, along with Messi, has shared the past 10 awards between them, came second in the voting. Atletico Madrid and France forward Antione Griezmann was third, ahead of France strike partner Kylian Mbappe. Messi was in fifth place.
The top ranked Premier League player was Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah, who came in 6th place. Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne from Manchester City and Tottenham striker Harry Kane also featured in the top 10.
This caps a memorable year for Modric, who was also named world’s best player at the Best Fifa Football Awards.
Speaking to BBC Sport, Modric dedicated the award to the other players who have missed out on the award in the past decade.
“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.”
Elsewhere at the awards, Lyon and Norway striker Ada Hegerberg won the inaugural Women’s Ballon d’Or. In addition, Mbappe became the first winner of the Kopa Trophy, which is awarded to the best under-21 player and selected by former Ballon d’Or winners.