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Why Luka Modric deserves to win the Ballon d’Or

Monday 3rd September 2018

When the final nominees for 2018’s Ballon d’Or are announced, Luka Modric will be among the favourites to plunder the coveted golden football. At long last, the Croatian mighty midfielder is getting the accolades he deserves. Ballon d’Or voters mustn’t ignore.

There’s been a handful of content discussing which footballer will break the vice grip of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi on the Ballon d’Or. One writer opined the crown was Neymar’s to lose. Kingsley made a strong case for Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah. We just didn’t give Modric a look-in. Not until now anyway...

It took a World Cup tournament to remind everyone of the nous and craftiness packed in the boots of Modric. As is often the case, 2018’s edition of the FIFA World Cup had on parade the most skilful and talented footballers in the world. Still, no one outperformed Modric in terms of carriage, proficiency and leadership. With regards results, only France smiled against the Croatian team skippered by Modric. Still, the defeat by Les Blues didn’t dent the historic achievement of Modric and his colleagues. The 32-year-old was duly named the Player of the Tournament.

The World Cup only heralded Modric on the biggest stage. Fans of European football especially the Champions League know the ingenuity of the man. No one doubts his ability now, but does he deserve to be named best player on the planet?

Modric tables a rich résumé

Ronaldo and Messi have monopolised the Ballon d’Or for the past decade. Don’t fuss, the award hasn’t morphed from what it represents. If anyone needs a reminder, it’s an award handed to the best performing male footballer of the calendar year. Modric checks all the right boxes.

If we discuss take-on’ and completed dribbles, Neymar, Messi, Ronaldo and Hazard might be in with a shout. But Modric has controlled almost every game he’s played this year. The pint-sized playmaker is involved in the majority of goals his team scores despite not scoring a lot himself. That bit is attributed to his clever and visionary style of play. His tackling ability also sets him apart. This is one man who can roll up his sleeves and get himself muddied to free his team from the mire. Attackers rarely do that.

In 2018, Modric scooped the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup, the Spanish Super Cup, the FIFA Club World Cup and of course won silver at the  FIFA World Cup. He didn’t do so by cowering on the bench, cursing the manager. He led from the front and made things happen.

Modric played 26 times in La Liga last season. He scored five times with seven assists following. He also started 10 times in the Champions League with a stellar performance in the final where he eclipsed Liverpool’s midfield. Subsequently, UEFA named Modric the best midfielder of the 2017/18 Champions League. Even better, his 313 points were enough to beat Ronaldo (223 points) and Mo Salah (134 points) to Europe’s best player award. Don’t forget, he was voted MVP at the 2018 World Cup. 

Can attackers humbly step aside now? From central midfield, Modric has struck gold in the highest echelon of European football. Ronaldo awed us all with a remarkable scissor-kick goal – he’s won the award for that. Salah rained goals for Liverpool but won no trophy with the Reds – the Premier League has said a big thank you. Lionel Messi was pivotal for Barcelona’s success in La Liga but couldn’t help them in Europe and wasn’t any better for Argentina in Russia. Meanwhile, Modric dazzled in the limelight.

Due to age, Luka Modric might never replicate his 2017-18 form. It takes nothing away – 2018 was the Modric year. Ballon d’Or and FIFA mustn’t deny him the highest individual award. UEFA didn’t.

Champions League Fixtures
Kingsley Ukpai

Kingsley is a football aficionado who craves to read, watch, play and write about the greatest team sport ever known to man. If you're talking football he'll be keen to listen to what you have to say. Loves to play Fantasy Football too.

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