Luka Modric has ended a decade of dominance by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to win the 2018 Ballon d’Or.
Modric’s latest honor would cap a remarkable 2018 — he won his fourth Champions League crown with Real Madrid and led Croatia to its first World Cup final — but it was not a surprise: He already had been honored this fall as European player of the year by UEFA, the continent’s governing body, and in September he beat Ronaldo and Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah in voting for FIFA’s world player of the year, ending a similar run of Ronaldo-Messi dominance.
Modric’s victory was widely expected — he already had been honored by FIFA as the world’s top player but the announcement lost much of its drama when a social media user posted what purported to be a list of vote totals.
The list, a blurry photograph of what appeared to be a preprinted page from the forthcoming issue of France Football, began circulating on social media hours before the announcement.
Raphael Varane, Mohamed Salah, Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezman