XtraTime Web Desk: Croatian sensation Luka Modric outran Cristiano Ronaldo & Mohammed Salah to win FIFA’s ‘The Best’ award in London on Monday.
Modric has now completed a UEFA and FIFA double of individual prizes after collecting the latter’s Best Men’s Player award.
The Croatian maestro was included on a three-man shortlist and triumphed against competition from Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah and former Real Madrid team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo.
The 33-year-old was a star performer as Croatia reached their first World Cup final and his performances at Russia 2018 saw him win the Golden Ball for the tournament’s best player.
And Modric, who was linked with a move to Inter during the transfer window, added another individual honour at FIFA’s Best Awards on Monday.
Lionel Messi was a notable absentee from the final three-man shortlist and neither he or Ronaldo were present at the ceremony in London.
Modric is tipped to end Messi and Ronaldo’s decade-long dominance of the Ballon d’Or, with the winner of that award announced later in the year.
“It’s a great honour and a beautiful feeling to stand here with this amazing trophy,” said Modric. “First of all I would like to congratulate Mohamed and Cristiano for their great seasons, and I’m sure in the future you will have another opportunity to fight for this trophy.
“This trophy is not just mine, it’s for all my Real Madrid team-mates, for all my team-mates from the Croatia national team. All the coaches I have played for, without them this would not be possible, thank you to them.
“This trophy is also for my family, without whom I would not be the person that I am. They are the best. Thanks to my fans all over the world for the great support and love that they are showing me. This means a lot to me.
“I would like to mention my footballing idol and captain of Croatia in 1998 [Zvonimir Boban], in the first participation and a bronze in France. He was my big inspiration and that team gave us belief that we could achieve something great in Russia, and hopefully we can be the same for next generations.
“This award shows that we all can become the best with hard work, dedication and belief. All dreams can come true.”
Earlier in Monday’s ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall, Modric’s Madrid team-mate Thibaut Courtois collected the award for Best Goalkeeper.
“I’m really proud and happy to have won this trophy and want to thank everyone who voted for me,” Courtois said.
The Belgium keeper also completed a UEFA and FIFA double having been awarded the Golden Glove for his performances at the World Cup.