Croatia and Real Madrid 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.
Former AC Milan and Brazil forward Ricardo Kaká was the last player other than Messi or Ronaldo to win it, in 2007.
Modric, 33, won his third successive Champions League in May before helping Croatia reach their first World Cup final who received the Golden Ball award for the best player at the World Cup 2018.
Modric was also named the world’s top male player at the Best Fifa Football Awards 2018.
Ronaldo, who joined Juventus from Real Madrid in the summer, came second with Barcelona and Argentina forward Messi finishing fifth.
Atletico Madrid frontman Antoine Griezmann and PSG attacker Kylian Mbappe – third and fourth respectively – both of whom won the World Cup 2018 with France, defeating Modric-led Croatia in the final.
Speaking to the press, emotional Modric dedicated the award to all of the other players who have missed out in the last 10 years dominated by Messi and Ronaldo.
“Maybe in the past, there are some players who could have won the Ballon d’Or like Xavi, Andres Iniesta or Sneijder but people finally now are looking at someone else,” he said.
“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 added.
What is the Ballon d’Or?
The Ballon d’Or has been awarded by France Football every year since 1956.
It was only for European players until 1995, when it expanded to become open for any player at a European club.
From 2007 it opened up to the rest of the world.
The 30-man list of nominees is compiled by the editorial staff of the French magazine, with the winner voted for by journalists from around the world, with one representative per nation.
From 2010 to 2015 it merged with Fifa’s awards, but they split and the world governing body set up its own awards again in 2016.