Luka Modric is the new Golden Ball. The Croatian of Real Madrid was announced as the winner of the prestigious award given by France Football in a ceremony in style at Le Grand Palais, on the banks of the Seine River, in Paris. In this way, the duopoly that Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi had in the trophy winners in the last 10 years is broken, in which five Gold Ballons were distributed each.
What seemed impossible while the two world cracks remained active, became a reality in a magical 2018 for Modric. Cristiano was second, although he was not at the gala, and Griezmann, another of those who were considered favorites, closed the podium in third place. Messi, meanwhile, could only be fifth and thus ceased to be among the first three, something that had not happened since 2006.
Neither did any French take the prize, another of the issues that had been considered after the achievement of the World Cup by the Gauls. Despite the presence in the Top Ten of Griezmann, Mbappé and Varane, plus the allegations of the coach Didier Deschamps, the Golden Ball was not French and Zidane will remain the last footballer of that nationality to win it (1998). Many consider that this year was the ideal to relieve him.
But the big winner of the night, and 2018, was Luka Modric. At 33 years old, elegant and sweet, like when he plays football, he showed his joy and that of all the Croats to win an award that elevates him to a category that only a select club of players can boast. Never before has a Croatian player, not even a Balkan player or of the former Yugoslavia, managed to win the Golden Ball in its 63 editions (it has been awarded since 1956).
The merits of Modric are beyond doubt. Also for the 180 journalists from many other countries who were in charge of casting their votes, among them Alfredo Relaño, director of As, Spanish representative in the voting. Luka won the Champions League with Madrid and was runner-up in the world with Croatia. In both teams he had the influential weight of who sets the pace of the game.
On an individual level, he was named best player in the World Cup and won the UEFA and FIFA awards. He just lacked the Golden Ball to be crowned king of world football. Since the night of this Monday it is. A diamond on the field, an indisputable talent, a genius who is forever part of the history of this sport.