LONDON: Real Madrid’s Luka Modric claimed FIFA’s The Best award for 2018 to end Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi’s decade-long hold on world football’s top player prize.
The Croatia midfielder won with 29 percent of the votes, coming in ahead of Ronaldo (19 percent), Mohamed Salah (11.2 percent), Kylian Mbappe (10 percent) and Messi (9 percent), who along with Ronaldo skipped the ceremony.
Modric was presented with the award following a ceremony in London on Monday night.
“This award is not just mine. It is my teammates’ from Real Madrid and Croatia. Without my coaches, I would not have won this and without my family, I would not be the player I am today,” said 33-year-old Modric.
Ronaldo and Messi had won every FIFA World Player of the Year award, which was renamed the FIFA Ballon d’Or in 2010 and The Best in 2016, since 2007 when Kaka was victorious.
Modric becomes the first Croatian player to win the award after an outstanding year for club and country.
He was instrumental in winning Real Madrid’s third Champions League title in as many seasons, while he captained Croatia to their first World Cup final, winning the Golden Ball at the tournament.
Modric ousted former teammate Ronaldo and Liverpool’s Salah on the final three-man shortlist to win, after beating the same pair to win UEFA’s Men’s Player of the Year award for the 2017-18 season.
Ronaldo scored 44 goals in all competitions in his final season for Real Madrid, while Salah netted the same amount for Liverpool in 52 games, while also breaking the Premier League record for most goals in a 38-game season with 32.
However, neither’s accomplishments were enough to take home the prize.
In addition to the top player award, Salah’s curling, left-footed strike in an Oct. 12, 2017 match against Everton won the Puskas Award for the best goal.
France boss Didier Deschamps took home the prize for the best manager after leading Les Bleus to their second World Cup title with a 4-2 triumph over Croatia in the July final.
Deschamps’ victory was the second straight year a French coach has won the award. Former Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane was honored in 2017.
Real Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois was voted the best goalkeeper. The former Chelsea man helped Belgium to the semifinals of the World Cup before losing to eventual champs France.
Lyon’s Reynald Pedros won women’s coach of the year, Peru fans won the FIFA fan award, the FIFA Fair Play honor was given to former VVV-Venlo striker Lennart Thy, and Brazil’s Marta was named the female player of the year for the sixth time.
David De Gea, Dani Alves, Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Marcelo, Luka Modric, N’Golo Kante, Eden Hazard, Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Cristiano Ronaldo were named to the FIFPro World XI.