Reigning Ballon d’Or winner, Luka Modric has acknowledged that the duopoly of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo denied some players the opportunity to win the award.
The Real madrid star was crowned the best footballer in the world in Paris on Monday night, and he became the first player other than Messi or Ronaldo to win the award in over a decade.
Victory caps a stellar year for the Croatian, who also was named the world’s top male player at the Best Fifa Football Awards, the UEFA awards and received the Golden Ball award for the best player at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
“Maybe in the past there are some players who could have won the Ballon d’Or like Xavi, Andres Iniesta or [Wesley] Sneijder but people finally now are looking at someone else,” he told BBC after the Gala on Monday.
“This award is for all the players who probably deserved to win it and didn’t. It was a really special year for me.
“It is difficult to express my emotion and how I feel in words. It is something unique for me. It was very special,” he said.
Ronaldo came second to Modric, followed by World Cup winners Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe in third and fourth, before Messi in fifth spot.
On receiving the title, Modric described Ronaldo and Messi as “phenomenal players” before appreciating the fact that “To win means I did something really special on the pitch this year, that’s why 2017-18 was the year for me.”
Meanwhile, 23-year-old Norway and Lyon star, Ada Hegerberg was crowned the winner of the first ever Women’s Ballon d’Or, and Mbappe won the first Kopa award for best under 21 player.
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