Luka Modric’s has received the ultimate recognition in the world of football thereby securing an enviable place in history – when he received the Ballon d’Or. This prize has literally been the property of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi for the past 10 years. Both players did not attend the event that crowned Modric. Their seats were vacant on the front row at the Grand Palais in Paris, France. It was by all standards a glitzy ceremony.
Modric the first ‘new’ winner since Brazil great Kaka in 2007 – has had an exceptional 12 months. He was instrumental in helping his club, Real Madrid, win a third consecutive Champions League in May and then became the heartbeat in the Croatia team that reached the World Cup final. He won the Golden Ball for his performances in Russia and then claimed the FIFA ‘Best’ prize in late summer but it is this trophy – the one created by France Football and first presented to Sir Stanley Matthews in 1956 – that truly put the seal on his superlative efforts.
To give an idea of how far clear Modric was following a vote by 180 journalists, he secured 753 points compared to Ronaldo (453) and Antoine Griezmann (414), who were second and third respectively. The 33-year-old, simply, has been a class apart. ‘I have such sensational emotions that I can’t really describe,’ said Modric, who credited the four years he played for Tottenham being crucial to his development. “When I was a kid, the dream was to play for big clubs and win trophies.
“The Ballon d’Or was more than a dream. I simply cannot believe it. For all my career, I have tried to work hard and have persistence. In the tough moments, you have to show your courage and I always said the best things do not come easy. To achieve all this, it has not been easy. But sooner or later, you get an opportunity and when it comes, you have to be ready to take it. I am still trying to take it on board that I have won this and become part of a group that belongs to history. It is a unique feeling,” Modric said.