For the first time in history a Croatian is the proud owner of the most prestigious individual award in football, the Ballon d’or. At a gala ceremony in Paris last night the Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modrić picked up the Ballon d’Or and broke a decade of dominance from Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The midfield star becomes the first ever Croatian to win the Ballon d’Or. And it has certainly been a year to remember for Modrić who won a silver medal at the 2018 World Cup as well as the Champions League with Real Madrid.
He has also won individual medals along the way with the Golden Ball for the best player at the World Cup to the FIFA award “The Best” in September.
World reactions to Luka Modrić winning Ballon d’Or
Modric, who is the first Croatian to win the Ballon d'Or, beat off competition from former Real Madrid team-mate Ronaldo, who was second, and France's World Cup winner Antoine Griezmann in third place. – The Telegraph
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. Modric, 33, won his third successive Champions League in May before helping Croatia to a first World Cup final. – BBC
Luka Modric a deserved winner, some thinking that Lionel Messi should have been higher after Barcelona’s brilliant La Liga season. But take a bow, Luka! You earned it, after manning the Real Madrid midfield to perfection and guiding Croatia to an unexpected World Cup final – The Sun
“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 honour and a privilege to hold this trophy.” – The New York Times
Modric, 33, finished ahead of 2017 winner Ronaldo of Juventus and Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann for the prize, leaving Messi, who was fifth, outside the top three for the first time since 2006. Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe finished fourth to round out the top five. Brazil star Neymar, who helped PSG to a domestic Treble last season, finished a distant 12th. – ESPN
The winner of the Ballon d'Or 2018 is Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder Luka Modric, adding to his awards as FIFA's The Best and the World Cup's Golden Ball.The 33-year-old has entered the history books, ending 10 years of duopoly dominance by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. - Marca