LONDON, Sept. 25 — Croatian star Luka Modric was name the best men’s player of the year, as FIFA unveiled the 2018 Best Football Awards here on Monday night at the Royal Festival Hall.
This put an end to the decade-long dominance of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo on this individual honor since 2008.
“I’m still not realising how good a year I had collectively, individually, and I’m very proud for everything I achieved this year and it will be remembered forever,” Modric said.
It is truly a fruitful year for Modric. The midfielder led Real Madrid to an unprecedented third consecutive Champions League title and captained Croatia to reach the World Cup final for the first time in the country’s history, which earned him the Golden Ball of the tournament.
“This award is not just mine,” Modric said. “It is my teammates’ from Real Madrid and Croatia.”
Marta was named best women’s player after spearheading Brazil to lift the Copa America. This is the sixth time the 32-year-old won the award, eight years after her feat of winning the then named FIFA Ballon d’Or for five consecutive years since 2006.
Although Liverpool’s forward Mohamed Salah was disappointed to miss the best player trophy, he did not leave the awarding ceremony empty-handed. His superb strike in the 1-1 draw with Everton in the Merseyside derby last December won him the Puskas Award as the best goal of the year.
Didier Deschamps, coach of the French national team that was crowned world champion in Russia, won the best men’s manager of the year award. Lyon’s coach Reynald Pedros was awarded best women’s manager after heading her team to win the French league and the Champions League.
Thibaut Courtois won the best goalkeeper award for helping Belgium secure a third-place in the Russia World Cup after his excellent performance in the Premier League with Chelsea, before he moved to Real Madrid for the new season.
Besides the shining football stars at the awarding ceremony, the absence of two also attracted wide public attention. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the two award-laden players in current football world, did not show up at the Royal Festival Hall, after splitting the best men’s players award for the last 10 years.