Luka Modric brought an end to a decade-long duopoly of football’s biggest individual prize by claiming FIFA’s Best Men’s Player of the Year on Monday night.
The award has been shared between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo equally over the last 10 years, but Modric ran out as a resounding winner at the Royal Festival Hall with 29.05 per cent of the vote.
Captains and managers of nations from around the world were asked to pick three players for the award, and the full list of votes were published shortly after Monday’s ceremony had concluded.
As ever, the votes made for a compelling read with some notable figures in the world of football making some telling decisions.
France manager Didier Deschamps, who claimed Coach of the Year after guiding his team to the World Cup, made his allegiances clear by choosing three of his players.
Deschamps gave his first vote, which awards five points, to Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann while his second (three points) and third-placed (one point) vote went to Raphael Varane and Kylian Mbappe.
It was also a surprise to see Barcelona star Lionel Messi, who finished outside the top three for the first time since 2006, hand a nomination to his arch-rival Cristiano Ronaldo. Messi placed Ronaldo third on his personal list, choosing eventual winner Modric and fourth-placed Mbappe ahead of him.
Ronaldo could not find it within himself to return the favour and also surprisingly gave his top vote to his Real Madrid team-mate Varane. The French defender finished ninth in the overall vote. Perhaps sensing a challenge to his crown, Ronaldo placed Modric in second and France striker Griezmann in third.
England captain Harry Kane, who himself finished 10th with just under one per cent of the total vote, showed his striking allegiances by giving his five points to Ronaldo. He also selected Messi (second) and fellow Premier League star Kevin De Bruyne (third).
MEN’S AWARD – FINAL STANDINGS
1. Luka Modric – 29.05%
2. Cristiano Ronaldo – 19.08%
3. Mohamed Salah – 11.23%
4. Kylian Mbappe – 10.52%
5. Lionel Messi – 9.81%
6. Antoine Griezmann – 6.69%
7. Eden Hazard – 5.65%
8. Kevin De Bruyne – 3.54%
9. Raphael Varane – 3.45%
10. Harry Kane – 0.98%