Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder Luka Modric has been named FIFA’s player of the year.
The Croatian captain beat former Real Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo and Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah to the prize.
Modric enjoyed arguably the best year of his career as he won a third consecutive Champions League trophy – before reaching the World Cup final with Croatia.
In the summer his international team-mate Dejan Lovren said: “Modric would probably be getting more attention if he was German or Spanish. He would maybe even be a Ballon d’Or winner.”
The midfielder won the Golden Ball award for the best player in the World Cup after their final defeat by France. He scored in their opening two matches and also set up one goal.
He also won the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award – beating Ronaldo and Salah in the process.
“It is a great honour and a beautiful feeling to stand here with this amazing trophy. First of all I would like to congratulate Mohamed and Cristiano,” he said while receiving the award at the ceremony in London.
“I am sure in the future you will have another opportunity to fight for this trophy.
“This award is not just mine. It is my teammates from Real Madrid and Croatia. Without my coaches I would not have won this. Without my family I would not be the player I am today.
“Thanks to my fans for all the great support and love they are showing me. It means a lot. Thanks to those who voted for me.
“I would just like to mention my footballing idol and former 1998 Croatia captain. He was my big inspiration and that team gave us belief we could create something in Russia.
“This award shows that we can all become the best with hard work and dedication. All your dreams can come true.”
Meanwhile, for the first time in 12 years Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi failed to dominate football’s individual awards. The Barcelona star failed to make the three finalists after early exits for Argentina at the World Cup and the Spanish Champions in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Both Messi and Ronaldo have won FIFA’s award in different guises five times each.
For a sixth straight season, Ronaldo was the Champions League’s top scorer with 15 goals and also scored four times at the World Cup, including a hat-trick against Spain in a thrilling 3-3 draw to open Portugal’s campaign.
Salah also makes the podium for the first time after an incredible 44-goal debut season for Liverpool that carried the Reds to the Champions League final.
However, a shoulder injury suffered early on in the final robbed him of the chance to help Liverpool lift the trophy and also meant he wasn’t in peak condition to lead Egypt’s World Cup bid.
Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic on Luka Modric:
“Luka Modric is the captain of my team, he’s the best player in my team and also in the world. He’ll deserve this award.
“He’s a very good man, a serious guy, a professional guy. He’s like my assistant in the field and I really appreciate Luka Modric for everything this guy did this year and he deserves everything.”
Brazil and Orlando Pride forward Marta won the award for the best female player for the sixth time.
She led Brazil to the Copa America in April, as they won all seven matches – although she only scored one of their 31 goals.
Marta scored 13 goals and set up six more as Orlando Pride reached the NWSL play-off semi-finals in the United States – earning herself a place in the league’s team of the year.
Fifa made five changes to the side selected in 2017 for the World eleven.
Kylian Mbappe, 19, was rewarded with a place in the side after winning the award for the best young player at this summer’s World Cup for his impressive performances for France.
Chelsea and Belgium forward Eden Hazard, his club mate N’Golo Kante, Manchester United’s David de Gea and Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane were also included
France’s coach Didier Deschamps won the award for the best men’s coach in 2018.
The former Marseille, Juventus and Chelsea midfielder captained his country as they won the World Cup in 1998, before guiding them to victory again in Russia in July.