December 4 – Real Madrid’s Croatian captain Luka Modric followed up his FIFA best player award by winning the prestigious Ballon d’Or on Monday, becoming the first player other than Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo to claim the award in more than a decade.
Modric earned the prize, these days back in the hands of France Football magazine following a temporary partnership with FIFA, ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and Antoine Griezmann with Lionel Messi, who was fifth, outside the top three for the first time since 2006.
Paris St Germain’s French star Kylian Mbappe, who also collected the Kopa award for the best under-21 player, was fourth.
Olympique Lyonnais’ Norway striker Ada Hegerberg won the inaugural Ballon d’Or for women’s football, having led her side to the Women’s Champions League title, scoring in extra time in the 4-1 win over Vfl Wolfsburg in the final.
Modric, 33, helped Real Madrid win a third successive Champions League title in May and also captained Croatia to their first World Cup final, being named player of the tournament despite his side losing 4-2 to France.
“It’s a unique feeling. I’m happy proud and honoured, I have a lot of emotions right now, it’s hard to describe in words,” said Modric, who collected the award from former France forward David Ginola at a glittering ceremony in Paris.
“It’s a big pleasure to be here among all these players. I am still trying to realise that I have become part of a group of exceptional players to win the Ballon d’Or throughout history.”
The Ballon d’Or was first presented in 1956 and the last player to lift the award, voted for by journalists, apart from Ronaldo and Messi, who have won it a joint-record five times each, was Kaka in 2007.
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