Luka Modric has officially ended Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi’s dominance of individual awards after scooping the Ballon d’Or award for 2018.
Consistent as ever, he was integral to Real Madrid winning their third Champions League in a row under Zinedine Zidane.
He then followed that up by captaining Croatia to the World Cup final for the first time in their history – deservedly winning the Golden Ball for the tournament thanks to his incredible displays in the middle of the park.
In September, Modric was handed the FIFA Men’s Best Player award from FIFA president Gianni Infantino and the former Spurs midfielder has completed a stellar year by adding the most prestigious individual prize in football to his collection at a ceremony in Paris.
The Ballon d’Or has been awarded by France Football magazine since 1956 and sees their staff put together the 30-man shortlist.
Even Ronaldo and Messi seemed to have assumed Modric would win; neither turned up for the FIFA awards in September, and both skipped Monday’s Ballon d’Or ceremony in Paris.
Before the big Modric reveal, Norway’s Ada Hegerberg, a 23-year-old striker who plays for Olympique Lyon, won the first women’s Ballon d’Or.
Modric, 33, is the first Croatian to win the Ballon d’Or; his countryman Davor Suker is the only other Croatian player ever to finish in the top three, in 1998.
“As a kid we all have dreams. My dream was to play for a big club and win important trophies,” Modric told reporters after accepting the award. “The Ballon d’Or was more than just a dream for me and it is really an honor and a privilege to hold this trophy.”