Daily Mail

Mo­dric ends Ron­aldo and Messi’s grip on Bal­lon d’Or

- DO­MINIC KING re­ports from Paris Sports · Soccer · La Liga (Spain) · Cristiano Ronaldo · Lionel Messi · Brazil national football team · Brazil · Kaká · Real Madrid F.C. · Madrid · Croatia · Russia · FIFA · France national football team · France · France Football · Antoine Griezmann · Michael Owen · Liverpool Football Club · Liverpool · Eden Hazard · Norway · Olympique Lyonnais · Croatia national football team · Mohamed Salah · Harry Kane · Lyon · Martin Solveig

LUKA MO­DRIC’S glo­ri­ous 2018 re­ceived the ul­ti­mate recog­ni­tion as he was awarded the Bal­lon d’Or.

The prize has been the prop­erty of Cris­tiano Ron­aldo and Lionel Messi for the past decade but two va­cant seats on the front row showed nei­ther had ac­cepted the in­vite to be at the Grand Palais.

Mo­dric — the first ‘new’ win­ner since Brazil great Kaka in 2007 — has had an ex­cep­tional 12 months. He was in­stru­men­tal in help­ing his club, Real Madrid, win a third con­sec­u­tive Cham­pi­ons League in May and then be­came the heart­beat in the Croa­tia team who reached the World Cup fi­nal.

He won the Golden Ball for his per­for­mances in Rus­sia and was then awarded The Best prize by FIFA in late sum­mer but it is this tro­phy — cre­ated by France

Foot­ball and first pre­sented to Sir Stan­ley Matthews in 1956 — that puts the seal on his ef­forts.

Mo­dric’s ma­jor­ity was such that, fol­low­ing a vote by 180 jour­nal­ists, he se­cured 753 points com­pared to Ron­aldo (453) and An­toine Griez­mann (414) in sec­ond and third.

The 33-year-old has been a class apart, and he said: ‘It is a unique feel­ing, I have such sen­sa­tional emo­tions that I can’t re­ally de­scribe. When I was a kid, the dream was to play for big clubs and win tro­phies. The Bal­lon d’Or was more than a dream.’

There has been no Premier League win­ner since Michael Owen in 2001 but there was, at least, a healthy rep­re­sen­ta­tion from the do­mes­tic league. Liver­pool’s Mo­hamed Salah (sixth) fared best ahead of Eden Haz­ard (eighth), Kevin de Bruyne (ninth) and Harry Kane (10th).

Nor­way and Lyon striker Ada Hegerberg won the in­au­gu­ral women’s Bal­lon d’Or, but was em­broiled in a sex­ism row af­ter be­ing asked if she could ‘twerk’ by French DJ Martin Solveig as she col­lected her award.

The 23-year- old, who scored 15 goals for Lyon dur­ing a tri­umphant Cham­pi­ons League cam­paign last sea­son, was en­cour­aged to per­form the provoca­tive dance move as she gave her ac­cep­tance speech.

She replied ‘no’ and turned away from the podium as Solveig laughed off her an­swer and play­ers in the au­di­ence looked on in be­muse­ment. Solveig later apol­o­gised.

 ?? EPA ?? Golden boy: Mo­dric
EPA Golden boy: Mo­dric

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