Luka Modric saw off competition from France ’s World Cup stars as the Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder won the Ballon d’Or on Monday to end a 10-year stranglehold on the award by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Modric, 33, was announced as the winner of the prestigious prize in a glitzy ceremony held in Paris at the Grand Palais, just off the Champs Elysees.
Ronaldo was a distant second, with France and Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann completing the podium.
Paris Saint-Germain’s teenage forward Kylian Mbappe – who won the Kopa Trophy for the best young player – came fourth, leaving Messi to settle for fifth position.
Another Frenchman, Modric’s Madrid teammate Raphael Varane, was seventh, just behind Liverpool ’s Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah.
“As a kid, we all have dreams. My dream was to play for a big club and win important trophies,” Modric said.
“The Ballon d’Or was more than just a dream for me, and it is really an honour and a privilege to hold this trophy.”