Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder Luka Modric won the most prestigious football award Ballon d’Or 2018 in Paris on Monday, breaking the long conventional tradition of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi winning the title.
The last player to win the award outside of Ronaldo and Messi was Brazilian great Kaka in 2007.
“As a kid we all have dreams. My dream was to play for a big club and win important trophies,” Modric said. “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. 2018 is a dream year for me. Throughout my career I realized hard work, persistence and belief in yourself in difficult moments are the foundations of success.”
Modric won the Champions League with Real Madrid for the third successive year and was a mainstay in midfield for the Croatian team that reached the final of the World Cup this year in Russia. The Croatian was awarded the FIFA’s World Cup 2018 MVP, UEFA’s Player of the Year 2018, Best FIFA Footballer of the Year and the number one player by International Federation of Football History and Statistics.
Ronaldo, now at Juventus, was key to Real Madrid when they retained the Champions League title for the third year in a row. Griezmann, on the other hand, helped his country France to win the World Cup during the summer after claiming the Europa League and the Uefa Super Cup titles with Atletico Madrid.
Meanwhile, Kylian Mbappe, who helped France in winning the World Cup, was awarded the Kopa award for the best young player, overtaking national teammates Raphael Varane and Antoine Griezmann.