For the first time in over a decade, somebody other than Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi is the world’s best footballer.
Midfield wizard Luka Modric has been named recipient of the 2018 Ballon d’Or. The announcement came in Paris on Monday.
The award has been given out annually since 1956 through France Football Magazine to the player of the year as decided by a panel of football journalists.
The Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder breaks up the 10-year streak of Ronaldo or Messi claiming the prize.
Juventus forward Ronaldo, the winner of the past two awards, finished second and Atletico Madrid and France striker Antoine Griezmann was third.
Barcelona’s Messi was left off the podium for the first time since 2006, largely due to Argentina’s poor showing at the World Cup, but was a part of the 30-man shortlist for the award that also included Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, Liverpool forward Mo Salah and Manchester United and France midfielder Paul Pogba.
Modric, 33, becomes the first Croatian to win the honour. Countryman and Real striker Davor Suker finished as runner-up in 1998.
It was a banner year for club and country for Modric. Modric helped Los Blancos claim a third straight Champions League title in a 3-1 victory over Liverpool in May that saw Modric win 100 per cent of his tackles without committing a foul and post a 94-per-cent accuracy rate with his passing.
The native of Zadar starred at June’s World Cup in which Croatia reached the Final for the first time where they ultimately fell 4-2 to France. Modric claimed the Golden Ball as the most valuable player at the tournament, averaging 69 passes per match and logging the most minutes at the tourney of any player.
The inaugural women’s award was also handed out on Monday with Ada Hegerberg of Olympique Lyonnais claiming the honour.
Canada’s Christine Sinclair was on the 15-player shortlist.