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Luka Modrić wins the 2018 Ballon d’Or 

Croatia captain Luka Modrić lifts the 2018 Ballon d’Or (EPA/Yoan Valatt/Twitter/HNS/Ballon d’Or)

Croatia captain Luka Modrić has won football’s most iconic individual award when he was named the winner of the 2018 Ballon d’Or in Paris on Monday night. 

The Real Madrid midfielder put a stop to the duopoly which Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo had on the award for the past 10 years by winning the 63rd edition of Ballon d’Or. 

Ronaldo finished in second place, 277 points behind Modrić with France’s Antoine Griezmann third, 339 points behind the Croatian. Lionel Messi finished in 5th place.

“It is a unique feeling. I am proud and honoured. I want to thank my teammates and coaches at Real Madrid and those with the national team. I want to thank all those that voted for me and my family. My dream as a kid was to play for a big club and win trophies and this is a dream,” Modrić said after collecting the award.

Modrić has etched his name in history becoming the first Croatian to ever win the award. The closest a Croatian ever came to the award was Davor Šuker who finished second in 1998 after being the top-scorer at the World Cup in France. 

A special message was played during the ceremony from Croatian president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic.

Modrić is also the first central midfielder to ever win the award.

Luka Modrić (HNS)How did the Ballon d’Or voting work?

After a shortlist of 30 players was selected by France Football magazine, a jury of international journalists voted on the players they considered first, second and third. The emphasis is on individual and collective performances throughout the year, player class, talent and fair play and an overall assessment of the footballer’s career.

The top-ranking player from each selection was awarded six points, second four points, then three, two and one. The total points are then calculated and the player with the highest total will be the winner of the Ballon d’Or.

Modrić wins the Golden Ball at the World Cup in Russia (HNS)

Modrić this year has already the UEFA Champions League, 2018 World Cup Golden Ball, UEFA Player of the Year, FIFA ‘Best’ Player of the Year and IFFHS Playmaker of the Year as well as runners-up medal at the World Cup. 

Luka Modrić picks up the UEFA award in Monaco earlier this year (UEFA)

Two other Croatians made the final Ballon d’Or classification. Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitić was ranked 19th.

Mario Mandžukić, who retired from international football after the World Cup, was ranked 25th.

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