Luka Modric put an end to a decade-long reign of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo: the Croat, the World Cup finalist in Russia, won the 2018 Gold Ball on Monday, beating the French world champions, notably Antoine Griezmann on the podium.
“The key to success ? Hard to say, hard work, perseverance in hard times. I like to say this sentence: “the best is never easy”, said the winner, moved to have been nominated by 180 journalists from around the world.
One page turns in world football: Neither Cristiano Ronaldo nor Lionel Messi, who share the supreme title of player of the year since 2008, have been crowned. The Portuguese, best scorer in the history of the champions League, is second, while the Argentinean is fifth.
History will remember that it was not a French World champion but Modric, an unfortunate finalist in the 2018 World Cup, who achieved this feat by winning the majority of the votes of the 180 journalists from all over the world who took part in the election organized by hedbomadaire France Football, creator of the prestigious prize.
After having already been named Best Player of the World Cup-2018, best player UEFA, Best Player Fifa, this elegant 33-year-old leader with false looks of Johan Cruyff succeeds the Grand Slam of the individual titles.
Culmination of an exceptional year where he won his 3rd champions League with Real Madrid, and led Croatia to the first world Cup final in its history.
Mbappé, the best young man in the world
French contenders Antoine Griezmann, Raphaël Varane, or Kylian Mbappé, are also experiencing the misadventure of the Spanish Xavi and Andrès Iniesta in 2010 or the German Manuel Neuer in 2014 : winning the World Cup was not enough to win the Ballon d’or.
Griezmann, who had claimed his wish to invite himself durably to the table of the quintuples Ballon d’or Messi and Ronaldo, must settle for the third place, as in 2016. And this despite the victory of the Europa League with a double in the final.
Varane, the only player to win the champions League and World Cup in 2018, finished 7th.
Mbappé, who had confided to AFP to have “put all the ingredients of (his) side” to conquer the Ballon d’or even before he was 20, failed in 4th place. But unlike his teammates on the French team, he did not leave the ceremony at the Grand Palais in Paris empty-handed.
The one who was compared to the “King” Pelé during the World Cup 2018, becoming notably the second youngest player in history to score in the World Cup final, won the first Raymond Kopa Trophy, which rewards the best player in the world under the age of 21.