Luka Modric has been awarded this year’s The Best FIFA Men’s Player honour as he became the first player to win the gong outside of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi since Kaka did in 2007.
The Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder was always considered world class and his football IQ paired with his excellent passing and technique make him the prototype midfielder which most aspiring players would try to replicate.
Many continue to argue the dominance of Messi and Ronaldo, and with acceptable points to boot, but 2018 was Modric’s year and he stood head and shoulders above the competition at least for this brief period.
There are undoubtedly more than three reasons why the Croatian maestro was honoured with the award, but here are possibly three of the biggest reasons why Modric was selected 2018’s very best.
THE SUCCESS AT REAL MADRID
Despite the Los Blancos falling woefully short in the race for the La Liga title, their overall season can still be considered a success given the number of trophies they hoisted during the campaign.
Winners of four competitions in the year, Real displayed they were still the dominant force in football despite only finishing third in their domestic league.
The FIFA Club World Cup, UEFA Super Cup, Spanish Super Cup and the UEFA Champions League were all competitions in which Madrid dominated and Modric was the key cog in the Real’s dominating machine. His approach was straightforward. He may not be the flashy player that his teammates may be, but there is no doubt that Modric’s control in the midfield helped jumpstart the team’s potent offence.
WINNING THE UEFA PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Outside of the number of team honours that Modric has had under his belt, this year marked the first time the former Spurs star won the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year Award.
The previous year, Modric finished fourth behind Ronaldo, Messi and Gianluigi Buffon. For the 2017-18 campaign, Modric was a deserved winner as he acquired 313 points which was 90 more than his closest rival, then teammate CR7 at 223 points.
Under the management of Zinedine Zidane, Modric’s talents were further unlocked and he was more effective than ever in dissecting defences from the midfield and making key passes to help Madrid gain so much success.
He arguably did his best work in the Champions League as he helped Madrid successfully defend their title and cement their legacy as one of Europe’s best ever.
FIFA WORLD CUP MASTERPIECE
Just like Messi back in 2014, Modric did enough in the FIFA World Cup 2018 to win the competition’s Golden Ball despite losing in the final.
Those who were still unaware of Modric’s brilliance were given a full view of his talents in Russia. He was excellent throughout the competition which resulted in the world football body giving him the biggest individual award of the competition.
Croatia were relatively underdogs in the contest and they certainly faced tough oppositions on their way to a surprise World Cup final appearance. The team certainly had talent with players like Mario Mandzukic and Ivan Rakitic, but it was Modric who was clearly the team’s best as he almost took them all the way.
The nation didn’t win the competition, but they certainly won the hearts of fans all over the world and Modric was at the centre and consolidated his heroic status among his compatriots.
📆 5 Years Ago:
🇭🇷 Luka Modric was voted the worst signing in LaLiga.
📅 5 Years On:
🏆 5x Team of the Year.
🏆 4x UCL Winner.
🏆 La Liga Winner.
🥇 World Cup Golden Ball.
🇭🇷 World Cup Final.
🏆 UEFA Player of the Year.
🏆 The BEST Men’s POTY.
👏 World Class. pic.twitter.com/g3uaFk2VOJ
— Danny Welbeck (@WellBeast) September 25, 2018
With his success and finally garnering the recognition he deserves, few will doubt Modric to continue to compete at such a high level for more years to come.
Ronaldo is now plying his trade in Italy with Juventus which opens up the spot for a leader at Real Madrid — one that Modric looks set to inherit. The Spanish club certainly have a lot of talent at their disposal and also up-and-coming stars ready to take the throne.
However, Modric’s coming-of-age performance in 2018 has resulted in him being arguably the best midfielder in football at the moment. Despite already being 33 years old, the Croatian has not shown signs of slowing down and more should still be expected from the diminutive star.