Luka Modric won the Ballon d’Or on this day in 2018, marking the first time since 2007 the award did not go to either Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder broke the stranglehold placed on France Football’s prestigious award by Messi and Ronaldo in the previous decade at a ceremony in Paris.

Argentina forward Messi and former Real team-mate Ronaldo and had each won the Ballon d’Or on five occasions since Brazilian Kaka did so in 2007.

In his acceptance speech, Modric said: “It’s a unique feeling. I am happy, proud and honoured. I have sensational emotions at the moment that are really hard to describe in words.

“First of all, I would like to thank my team-mates and coaches at Real Madrid and all the people who work for Real Madrid, all my coaches and team-mates with the national team, all those who voted for me and of course, my family, my wife and kids.

“They are fulfilling me as a person and helping me in all aspects to be successful as a professional.

“As a kid, we all have dreams. My dream was to play for a big club, to win important trophies. I dreamed about it, but the Ballon d’Or was more than a childhood dream for me and it’s a real honour and a privilege to hold this trophy.”


Modric’s recognition was reward for a fine 12 months during which he helped his club lift the Champions League for the third successive season before playing a key role in Croatia’s surge to the 2018 World Cup final.

He won the Golden Ball for his contribution in Russia and was named the Best FIFA Footballer of the Year, and was the first Croatian to claim the Ballon d’Or.

Modric, now 38, is still playing for Real Madrid and helped his country to the World Cup semi-finals last year in Qatar.