The Ballon d’Or has been the premier award for individual footballers for years now, and in various ways, it’s almost as valued as winning a trophy with a team. The award is given by a french magazine. All the national captains and coaches along with top journalists vote for their favorite player of the year. The player with maximum votes generally bags award. Even getting nominated in the top three is considered a huge deal. Unsurprisingly, over the past decade it’s been dominated by 2 players; Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
The two have 5 Ballon d’Or wins each, and before 2018, you’d need to return to 2007 and Kaka to seek out an alternate winner. That’s why it had been such a breath of fresh air this year when Luka Modric of Real Madrid and Croatia was named the winner in December.
It’s not like Ronaldo or Messi had bad years; both men scored iconic goals, actually – Ronaldo within the Champions League, Messi within the World Cup – but there have been few arguments against Modric receiving the award.
The diminutive playmaker was the key man in Croatia’s march to the planet final, albeit they lost to France within the final, and he scored one among the simplest goals of the tournament against Argentina. And he was equally important to Real as they won their third Champions League during a row, appearing in 14 of their games in Europe including the ultimate.
Whether this marks the top of Ronaldo and Messi’s overall dominance is yet to be determined, but it had been an incredible and well-deserved capper to what has been an excellent career for Modric – and fittingly, he dedicated his award to all or any the good players who omitted thereon during the past decade.
Note: In this flashback series of articles we will take you back to back to the famous events of various years and will report the incident as they would have been reported in that particular time.