Real Madrid’s Croatia midfielder Luka Modric was named the winner of the 2018 Ballon d’Or on Monday breaking Cristiano Ronaldo’s and Lionel Messi’s decade-long hold on the prestigious award.
The 33-year-old playmaker helped Real Madrid win a third successive Champions League title in May and also captained Croatia to their first World Cup final, being named the player of the tournament despite his side losing 4-2 to France.
The last player to lift the award apart from Messi and Ronaldo, who have won it a joint-record five times each, was Kaka in 2007 when he played for Italian side AC Milan.
Modric joined Real Madrid from Tottenham Hotspur in 2012 for a reported €40 million was criticised in his debut season at the Bernabeu and named the worst signing of the year in a poll by Spanish newspaper Marca.
Cristiano Ronaldo came second, Antoine Griezmann third and Kylian Mbappé fourth while Messi came fifth.
Harry Kane, the only English player on the 30-man shortlist, ranked 10th in the poll after winning the World Cup Golden Boot in Russia as he captained England to their best finish in 28 years.
Premier League trio Mohamed Salah (6), Eden Hazard (8) and Kevin De Bruyne (9) were also in the top 10.
World Cup winners N’Golo Kante (11) and Paul Pogba (15) finished in the top 20 after being recognised for their performances in Russia.
The Ballon d’or, voted for by journalists and organised by French magazine France Football, has been dominated by Barcelona’s Messi and Ronaldo, first when he was at Manchester United and subsequently with Real Madrid, since 2008.
Along with the Ballon d’Or award, the Kopa trophy for the best young player was also to be handed out, and that honour went rather unsurprisingly to Kylian Mbappe for his heroic contributions for France at the World Cup in Russia.
The Ballon d’Or was first presented in 1956 and partnered with soccer’s world governing body Fifa as ‘The Best’ award from 2010 to 2015, until becoming its own entity again.