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2018 BALLON D'OR

Luka Modric wins the 2018 Ballon d'Or award

Luka Modric wins the 2018 Ballon d'Or award

BENOIT TESSIER

REUTERS

The Real Madrid and Croatia player beat Cristiano Ronaldo, Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappé to lift France Football's award for the first time.

Luka Modric beat Cristiano Ronaldo, Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappé to lift France Football's Ballon d'Or award in tonight's ceremony at Le Grand Palais on the banks of the river Seine in Paris. The 33-year-old played an instrumental role in helping Real Madrid to win the Champions League in May, then was key for Croatia in their impressive World Cup campaign, which saw them end as runners-up after losing to France in the final. Modric breaks the duopoly which Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi have enjoyed in this annual award over the past decade. In this year's voting, Cristiano finished second and Messi in fifth - separated by Antoine Griezmann in third and Kylian Mbappé in fourth. Cristiano and Messi, who have five Ballon d'Ors between them, were conspicuous by their absence - neither attended tonight's event.

Luka Modric kisses the 2018 Ballon d'Or award

Flying the flag for Croatia

Modric becomes the first Croatian player to win the prestigious award -  and the first, other than Cristiano or Messi, since Ricardo Kaká was named player of the year in 2007. It is the 11th time a Real Madrid player has won the accolade, previous editions were won by: Cristiano Ronaldo (2013, 2014, 2016 y 2017), Fabio Cannavaro (2006), Ronaldo Nazário (2002), Luis Figo (2000), Afredo Di Stéfano (1957 y 1956) and Raymond Kopa (1958)

Real Madrid's Luka Modric wins the 2018 Ballon d'Or award

"Special year"

Modric, who also collected the 2017/18 UEFA Men's Player of the Year award in his best season as a professional showed grace with his words on accepting the award. "I'd like to thank everyone who helped me to win this award - everybody at Real Madrid and all of my team mates with Croatia - and my wife and my kids, who fill me as a person. We all have dreams. As a child, I dreant about playing for a big club but winning the Ballon d'Or was much more than a dream for me. It's an honour to be among these great players. I am trying to get used to the idea than I am among a group of exceptional players who have won the Ballon D'Or. I have a lot of emotions, it's really difficult to express in words. I just give my thanks. It's a dream that has become reality. It's a great honour, it's a privilege to life this award right here. This has been a special year".

2018 Ballon d'Or classification

1 Luka Modric

2 Cristiano Ronaldo

3 Antoine Griezmann

4 Kylian Mbappé

5 Leo Messi

6 Mohamed Salah

7 Raphaël Varane

8 Eden Hazard

9 Kevin De Bruyne

10 Harry Kane

See the full classification here:

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