Luka Modric wrapped up a fine year for himself by walking away with the coveted FIFA Player of the Year award 2018 on Monday. Marta took home her sixth and first since 2010, women’s FIFA player of the year award 2018.
A glimmering ceremony in London was graced by eminent personalities from around the world along with the elite cream of the football universe to award the best footballers from over the year with the FIFA best awards. The prestigious event saw FIFA hand out awards for not only the best player of the year but also the Puskás award for best goal of the year and the best men’s and women’s coach of the year among others.
While the award ceremony threw up some questionable winners, it was no surprise when Luka Modric’s name was announced for the biggest prize of the night. The Real Madrid and Croatian midfielder was rightfully given the FIFA men’s player of the year award for a year that was unmatched by anyone.
Guiding Real Madrid to a third consecutive champions league trophy, Modric as Croatia’s captain played an instrumental role in guiding his country to the final of the world cup. His understated class in the middle of the pitch saw him pull the strings for both club and country in a fair share of crucial matches. From being announced as Real Madrid’s worst signing in a decade in 2012, Modric’s rise has been a meteoric one. Silencing his critics with his talent and ability to control the game, Modric has emerged as one of the best midfielders in the world today, catching everyone’s eye with not only his ability to pierce defences with his silky through balls and crosses but also his never say die spirit and hard-working nature on the pitch.
“It’s a great honour and a beautiful feeling to stand here with this amazing trophy,” Modric said.
“This trophy is not just mine, it’s for all my Real Madrid team-mates, for all my team-mates from the Croatia national team, for all the coaches that I have played for,” he added. “Without them, this would not be possible and thank you a lot to them. This trophy is also for my family, without whom I would not be the player and person that I am.”
Must read: FIFA World Cup 2018 Award Winners
Modric became the first footballer other than Ronaldo and Messi since 2007 to win the trophy. Finishing ahead of Mohammed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo, Modric also became the first player in the world to win the FIFA Golden ball, UEFA player of the year and FIFA player of the year in the same year. Salah and Ronaldo were followed by France’s Kylian Mbappé in fourth with Lionel Messi in fifth place.
Orlando Pride’s Marta beat Olympique Lyonnais pair Ada Hegerberg and Dzsenifer Marozsán to win a sixth women’s player of the year award for herself. The 32 year old was ecstatic at winning the trophy for the first time in 8 years.
“This means so much but it is not only about me. It is about my team-mates and women’s football,” Marta said at the ceremony. “Most importantly, it is good to see women’s soccer grow each year. If I keep doing well and that can help off the field too, then I am happy.”
French national team coach Didier Deschamps walked away with the coach of the year award for guiding his country to the cherished world cup. The coach who played an instrumental role from the dugout was lauded for the tactics that saw him become a winner of the world cup as both player and coach. Reynald Pedros was named the women’s coach of the year.
“We all know that being a coach, alone we can’t do anything,” Deschamps said. “We are nothing without our players and I want to thank my whole team who worked to get me here and get me this trophy tonight.”
Liverpool’s Mohammed Salah was given the Puskás award which is presented for the best goal to be scored in a season. His win for his goal against Everton left the entire world baffled given the quality of goals scored by the other contenders. Ronaldo’s goal against Juventus in the champions league was a clear winner and it still puzzles us as to how Salah was considered worthy of a goal that was not even the best scored by him in the last year.
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