Luka’s dream­land

Modric caps off stel­lar 2018 by be­ing named the world’s best foot­baller

Sport360 - - Ballon D’or | Serie A - By Staff Re­porter @Sport360 ✉ [email protected]

Luka Modric ad­mit­ted he was liv­ing his dream af­ter cap­ping a re­mark­able year by lift­ing the 2018 Ballon d’Or.

The 33-year-old Real Madrid and Croa­tia mid­fielder broke the stran­gle­hold placed on France foot­ball’s pres­ti­gious award by Cris­tiano Ron­aldo and Lionel Messi in the last decade at a cer­e­mony in Paris on Mon­day evening.

For­mer Real team-mate Ron­aldo and Ar­gen­tinian su­per­star Messi had each won the Ballon d’Or on five oc­ca­sions since Brazil­ian Kaka did so in 2007.

In his ac­cep­tance speech broad­cast by la chaine L’Equipe, Modric said: “It’s a unique feel­ing. I am happy, proud and hon­oured. I have sen­sa­tional emo­tions at the mo­ment that are re­ally hard to de­scribe in words.

“First of all, I would like to thank my team-mates and coaches at Real Madrid and all the peo­ple who work for Real Madrid, all my coaches and team-mates with the na­tional team, all those who voted for me and of course, my fam­ily, my wife and kids.

“They are ful­fill­ing me as a per­son and help­ing me in all as­pects to be suc­cess­ful as a pro­fes­sional.

“As a kid, we all have dreams. My dream was to play for a big club, to win im­por­tant tro­phies. I dreamed about it, but the Ballon d’Or was more than a child­hood dream for me and it’s a real hon­our and a priv­i­lege to hold this tro­phy tonight.”

Modric’s recog­ni­tion was re­ward for a fine 12 months dur­ing which he helped his club to lift the Cham­pi­ons League for the third suc­ces­sive sea­son in May be­fore play­ing a key role in Croa­tia’s surge to the World Cup fi­nal.

He won the Golden Ball for his con­tri­bu­tion in Rus­sia and was named the Best FIFA foot­baller of the Year in Septem­ber, and is the first Croa­t­ian to claim the Ballon d’Or.

Ron­aldo, who left Real for Ital­ian gi­ants Ju­ven­tus in a £99.2mil­lion switch in July, fin­ished as run­nerup ahead of France’s World Cup win­ner An­toine Griez­mann.

Messi was rel­e­gated to the rel­a­tive back­wa­ters, by his stan­dards, of fifth be­hind Griez­mann’s in­ter­na­tional team-mate Kylian Mbappe, with Liver­pool and Egypt striker Mo­hamed Salah the first PremierLeague based player in the list.

Eng­land skip­per Harry Kane, who won the Golden Boot in Rus­sia, came 10th, with Wales’ tal­is­man Gareth Bale fin­ish­ing in 17th place.

“First of all, I would like to thank my team-mates”

– Modric

With­out com­pare: Real Madrid’s Luka Modric cel­e­brates with the Ballon d’Or award dur­ing a cer­e­mony in Paris.

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