Ballon d’Or 2018: Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi saga is over as Luka Modric wins

Luka Modric was named winner of the Ballon d’Or for 2018, seeing off competition from previous winners Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Casey Baughan looks at the shortlist and why Modric was a deserved winner. 

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The Ballon d’Or 2018 should have gone down in history and did for a concoction of success, sexism, regret and bravery.

History was made as Ada Hegerberg became the first female Ballon d’Or winner who frankly should be making headlines for those reasons purely, instead of for being asked if she knew ‘how to twerk’ by DJ Martin Solveig as she collected her award.

I’d like to say the Men’s awards was a different story but for many football fans there remains upset as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were beaten to glory for the first time in a decade.

What a stellar year it has been for Luka Modric and an understatement at that. The 33-year-old won his third Champions League with Real Madrid prior to receiving the Golden Ball award for the best player during the 2018 Russian World Cup. Not that those titles aren’t enough, he helped Croatia reach their first World Cup final and was crowned the world’s top male player at the FIFA Football Awards, alongside UEFA Men’s Player.

Well deserved, I think so.

The top 10 ended up as an even battle between La Liga and Premier League stars, with four players from each league ranking at this year’s awards. Liverpool’s striking hero Mohamed Salah, who took the Premier League by storm, finished sixth behind Messi. Salah set a new record by scoring 32 goals in 28 games.

The outrage of the Argentine securing fifth spot in the list was too much for some fans, with Messi’s statistics showing nothing but an incredible year; 60 goals and 24 assists in 70 games. Although Ronaldo placed second, it was his former La Liga team-mate and overall winner Modric who had the last word.

“This award is for all the players who probably deserved to win it and didn’t. It was a really special year for me.” Clearly you can argue with stats, and Modric now has topped off his more than special year by journalists and the world recognising other footballing talent.

2018 Men’s Ballon d’Or top 10

  1. Luka Modric (Real Madrid
  2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)
  3. Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid)
  4. Kylian Mbappe (PSG)
  5. Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
  6. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
  7. Raphael Varane (Real Madrid)
  8. Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
  9. Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City)
  10. Harry Kane (Tottenham)

2018 Women’s Ballon d’Or top 10

1. Ada Hegerberg (Lyon and Norway)

2. Pernille Harder (Wolfsburg and Denmark)

3. Dzsenifer Maroszan (Lyon and Germany)

4. Marta (Orlando and Brazil)

5. Sam Kerr (Perth and Australia)

6. Lucy Bronze (Lyon and England)

7. Amandine Henry and Wendie Renard (both Lyon and France)

9. Megan Rapinoe (Seattle and USA)

10. Lindsay Horan (Portland and USA)

You can follow Casey on Twitter @casey_baughan


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