#BallonDor: Luka Modric Ends Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo Duopoly

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Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder Luka Modric won the 2018 Ballon d’Or, becoming the first player other than Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo to claim the award in more than a decade.

The Real Madrid midfielder played a pivotal role for his club as they stormed to a third consecutive Champions League title, as well as captaining Croatia to second place at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Modric also received the best men’s player prize at the FIFA Best awards in September.

“It’s a unique feeling, I’m happy, proud and it’s an honour,” he said as he accepted the award. “[There are] extraordinary emotions at the moment. 

“I just want to thank all those who helped me to be here tonight, I thank my team-mates, my coaches, the staff and Real Madrid, all those who work there, the coaches and team-mates in the national team, the ones who voted for me and my family, which allows me to blossom as a person.

“Always have dreams, I wanted to play in a big club, win titles, the Ballon d’Or is all I could dream [about] as a child, it’s an honour to win it tonight.

“It’s a great pleasure to be here around these players. I keep thinking, I’m trying to get used to being part of this group of exceptional players who have won the Ballon d’Or in history. It’s a great pleasure to be part of this group.

“Throughout my career I understood that work, persistence, believing in yourself, is the basis for expressing your talent. I like a saying – the best is never easy. For me, it was not easy. It was necessary to seize the opportunities.”

Ronaldo, who joined Juventus from Real Madrid in the summer, came second.

France star Griezmann took third place in the poll.

The top 10

1. Luka Modric (Real Madrid and Croatia)

2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus and Portugal)

3. Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid and France)

4. Kylian Mbappe (Paris St-Germain and France)

5. Lionel Messi (Barcelona and Argentina)

6. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool and Egypt)

7. Raphael Varane (Real Madrid and France)

8. Eden Hazard (Chelsea and Belgium)

9. Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City and Belgium)

10. Harry Kane (Tottenham and England)

 

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