Luka Modric was named The Best FIFA Men’s Player at Monday’s ceremony in London.
The Croatian midfielder overcame former Real Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo and Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah to clinch the annual award.
Modric fell short in July’s World Cup final against France but was bestowed with the tournament’s Golden Ball gong after the final whistle and the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year prize in August. He was at his artful best in Russia, fashioning two goals and one assist while dictating the tempo and threading the lines for Zlatko Dalic’s Croatia.
In addition to his international feats, he was instrumental in Real Madrid winning their fourth Champions League title in five years, and collecting the FIFA Club World Cup in the United Arab Emirates earlier in the season.
At 32, Modric has mastered a combination of defensive graft, dynamism, and attacking verve, and his procurement of The Best FIFA Men’s Player distinction breaks the duopoly Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have had on individual awards over the past decade.
Ronaldo, who now plies his trade for Juventus, wasn’t at the ceremony. He was handed the opening two awards in the men’s player category since The Best FIFA Football Awards began in January 2017, and has also nabbed five Ballon d’Ors over his silverware-laden career.
Modric and Ronaldo were both selected in the FIFPro World XI but the third finalist for The Best FIFA Men’s Player decoration, Salah, was not.
The Egyptian netted an unprecedented 32 goals in a 38-game Premier League season in 2017-18, and forged a phenomenal attacking triumvirate with Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino which was key to Liverpool reaching that campaign’s Champions League final. He was unfortunately forced off with an injury during that showpiece after a tangle with Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos.
Modric played the full 90 minutes of that 3-1 victory for Los Blancos.
“This award is not just mine. It is my teammates from Real Madrid and Croatia. Without my coaches, I would not have won this. Without my family, I would not be the player I am today,” Modric said upon receiving the award, as reported by BBC Sport.
“Thanks to my fans for all the great support and love they are showing me. It means a lot. Thanks to those who voted for me.”
He added: “This award shows that we can all become the best with hard work and dedication. All your dreams can come true.”