By Oluwatoyin Adeleye
Luka Modric has emerged FIFA men’s footballer of the year 2018 at a ceremony in London, with Brazil’s Marta crowned the world’s best female player.
33-year-old Modric won the Champions League for the third time in a row with his club, Real Madrid, in May before leading Croatia to the 2018 World Cup final, where they lost 4-2 to France. He is the first player other than Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi to win the FIFA award since Kaká in 2007.
“It’s a great honour and a beautiful feeling to stand here with this amazing trophy,” Modric said, when receiving his award. “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.”
Modric won the award, officially called The Best FIFA Men’s Player, ahead of his former Real Madrid teammate Ronaldo, with the Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah third. France’s Kylian Mbappé finished fourth with Lionel Messi in fifth place. The Tottenham and England striker Harry Kane finished 10th in the vote.
Marta was named the FIFA women’s player of the year for the sixth time but the first time since 2010. The 32-year-old currently plays for the US side Orlando Pride and beat Olympique Lyonnais pair Ada Hegerberg and Dzsenifer Marozsán.
“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.”
Salah won the Puskás award for the year’s best goal, for his strike against Everton in December, while France’s Didier Deschamps was named coach of the year at the Royal Festival Hall.
“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.”
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