Modric moments: A look at The FIFA Best Men's Player’s best bits
Modric broke an 11-year run of awards won by either Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo and stretching back to 2007, by beating off competition from Ronaldo and Liverpool and Egypt player Mo Salah to scoop the FIFA Best Men's PLayer gong at the lavish bash in London to go with his UEFA Men's Player of the Year Award.
Salah had to settle for winning the Ferenc Puskas award for the season’s best goal, whereas Ronaldo snubbed the event entirely and was not present at the ceremony. In tribute to the victorious midfield maestro, we take a look at the best moments of his annus mirabilis that made him the best of the best.
The Champions League hat-trick
Modric has been an integral part of Real Madrid’s starting lineup since arriving at the Bernabeu six years ago, winning a quadruple of UEFA Champions League titles in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018, being voted into the UEFA team of the season in each year.
Ex-Real boss Zinedine Zidane built his team around the coruscating Croatian, who provided the pivot int he centre of the park to spray passes to the attacking prowess of Ronaldo, Benzema, Isco and Bale.
In May, Modric, such a mainstay of the Madrid team, played the full 90 minutes of the Champions League final in Kiev versus Liverpool in May, with the side from the Spanish capital triumphing 3-1 to record an unprecedented third straight title.
For his efforts helping Madrid to their 13th European title and his fourth in Real’s famous white, Modric was voted into the tournament’s team of the season and named the UEFA midfielder of the season.
Leading Croatia to a 1st World Cup final
Modric’s exploits for club: read same for country. The man from Zadar has over 100 caps for his country, and wore the captain’s armband when Croatia made it all the way to tournament showpiece at Russia 2018, facing France at Luzhniki Stadium.
Dictating the play in midfield with Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic, the mercurial Modric made the Croatian unit tick as they marched onto a first semifinal since France 98, and a first final in the country's history.
Although Croatia lost the final 4-2 to France, the minature midfield dynamo recorded enough solid performances in the run up to the final to cement his place among the elite players in world football.
Scoring THAT goal against Argentina
Aide from his stellar performances in the crux of the Croatian midfield, Modric scored one of the goals of the tournament against a Messi-led Argentina during a 3-0 annihilation of La Albiceleste in Nizhny Novgorod.
Many earmarked the Group D of Croatia, Argentina, Nigeria and Iceland as the potential group of death, but Modric's 80th-minute rocket all but ensured his team qualified with ease on nine points after recording 3 wins from 3, finishing 5 points ahead of the South Americans overall. His strike was then shortlisted for goal of the tournament.
The Golden Boy
Modric's display at in Russia brought him a trove of accolades and recognition, including being voted into the World Cup 2018 dream team, but his crowning personal glory amid collective disappointment was being awarded the Golden Boot, for the best player at the tournament.
The diminutive giant accepted the award alongside precocious wonderkid Kylian Mbappe of France - who was named the Russia 2018 young player of the tournament - in the Moscow rain at Luzhniki Stadium.
Being upstaged by Croatia president Grabar-Kitarović
Despite his huge success on the field, Modric was upstaged by Croatian president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović off it. The blonde football fan melted hearts at the tournament, becoming a surprise hit for her passionate show of support throughout.
That included wearing a Croatia jersey in the stands at the team's quarterfinal match versus hosts Russia in Sochi, and emotionally presenting Modric his runnersup medal in the Moscow downpour afetr the final, to even giving Russian President Vladimir Putin a Croatia shirt of his own.
The president amassed such a cult following at the tournament, that she recorded a whole 25 percent more social media mentions than skipper Modric, from a record-high 258,326 about Croatia during the final.
Grabar-Kitarović was on hand to congratulate Modric on his latest success."Bravo Luka - deserved! Captain, congratulations on your choice for the best player in the world!" the popular president wrote on Facebook.
It just goes to show, no matter how much you think you're 'the best', there is always someone 'better'.