Luka Modric has won the Ballon d’Or award for the first time to end the 10-year stranglehold of five-time winners Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Modric helped Real Madrid win a third successive Champions League title in May and captained Croatia to their first World Cup final, being named player of the tournament despite his side losing 4-2 to France.
“As a kid we all have dreams. My dream was to play for a big club and win important trophies,” Modric, who is the first Croatian to win the prestigious award in its 62-year existence, 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.”
The award, voted for by journalists and organised by French magazine France Football, has been dominated by Messi and Ronaldo since 2008.
Ronaldo was second in the voting followed by France forward Antoine Griezmann, his national teammate Kylian Mbappe was fourth while Messi was fifth – the first time he has been outside the top three since 2007.
Liverpool’s Egypt forward Mohamed Salah was sixth, Real Madrid’s Frenchman Raphale Varane was the highest-placed defender in seventh while Premier League trio Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne and Harry Kane rounded out the top 10.
The last player to win the Ballon d’Or before Ronaldo and Messi was Brazil midfielder Kaka with AC Milan in 2007.
Modric dislodged Ronaldo as the FIFA world player of the year in September.
The 19-year-old Mbappe – the youngest player to score in a World Cup final – won the inaugural Kopa Trophy awarded to the best young player.
Norwegian forward Ada Hegerberg won the inaugural women’s Ballon d’Or with Matildas star Sam Kerr fifth in the voting.
Hegerberg is a three-time Women’s Champions League winner with French side Lyon and scored a tournament-record 15 times last season.
“I want to say thanks to France Football. It’s a huge step for women’s football,” Hegerberg said.
“I want to end this speech with a message to all young girls in the world; Believe in yourselves.”
France Football magazine has been awarding the Ballon d’Or since 1956, and created a women’s award for the first time this year.
Ada Hegerberg was named the best female football player in the world at the Ballon d’Or ceremony… then a famous DJ asked her to twerk
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) December 4, 2018
The historic moment in female football was destroyed by a male presenter’s disgraceful question.
Moments after Ada Hegerberg became the first female recipient of the Ballon d’Or, she was asked to answer some questions from DJ Martin Solveig.
The French DJ was a guest host at the prestigious awards ceremony, but we doubt he’ll be invited back.
The Norwegian footballer reacted with shock before quickly responding ‘no’ and walking away.
Those in the crowd audibly gasped, as the camera cut to French star Kylian Mbappé in the front row, who didn’t look impressed.
Football journalist Jason Pettigrove branded Solveig “f***ing pathetic”, while hoards of other social media users also slammed the DJ.
However Hederberg has since played down the furore, insisting she wasn’t upset.
“He came to me afterwards and was really sad that it went that way,” she said afterwards.
“I didn’t really think about it at the time to be honest. I didn’t really consider it a sexual harassment or anything in the moment.