The midfield maestro Luka Modric has won The Best FIFA Men’s player award and ended the duopoly of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. The last player to win this accolade other than these greats was Ricardo Kaka back in 2007.
The 33-year-old midfielder scooped the award for his part in helping Real Madrid win a third consecutive Champions League title and guiding Croatia to the final of the World Cup.
It was refreshing that a player other than Ronaldo and Messi was accorded the honour – the first time since Kaka won the award in 2007 that neither player has held aloft the trophy.
“It’s a great honour and a beautiful feeling to stand here with this amazing trophy,” said former Tottenham midfielder Modric.
“This trophy is not just mine, it’s for all my Real Madrid teammates, for all my teammates from the Croatia national team, for all the coaches that I have played for. 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.”
Ronaldo finished second and Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah was third while Messi failed to make the top three for the first time since 2006.
Egyptian Salah didn’t end the evening empty-handed, however, walking away from the Royal Festival Hall with the year’s best goal, for his strike against Everton last season.
Real Madrid’s former Chelsea stopper Thibaut Courtois beat off competition from Leicester’s Kasper Schmeichel and Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris to win the best goalkeeper accolade.
France’s Didier Deschamps was named coach of the year for masterminding their World Cup triumph in Russia.
“We all know that being a coach, alone we can’t do anything,” “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.”said Deschamps.
Brazil’s Marta was voted the world’s best female player, the sixth time she has won the award but the first since 2010.
“This means so much but it is not only about me,” said the 32-year-old who currently plays for the US side Orlando Pride.
“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.”
Fifa FIFPro World XI of the year
There were a couple of highly questionable selections in the Team of the Year, namely the inclusion of David De Gea and not Courtois, despite the fact the latter won the individual goalkeeper of the year award. And Messi got the nod over England’s Harry Kane, even though the Argentine bombed at the World Cup.
Kane missed out despite winning the World Cup golden boot and scoring 30 goals in 37 games in the Premier League for Spurs.
Many Liverpool supporters were also puzzled after Salah’s exclusion from the world XI, the Daily Express and The Sun report.
LFC Fans Corner wrote on Twitter: “Mad how Mo Salah is in the top 3 for Player of the Year but isn’t in the World XI. Plus Courtois won goalkeeper of the year and didn’t make the XI. I want some of whatever Fifa’s been taking.”
The Best Fifa awards: the winners
Fifa Puskas Goal of the Year: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) vs. Everton
Coach of the Year: Didier Deschamps (France)
Goalkeeper of the Year: Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea/Real Madrid/Belgium)
Best Women’s Coach: Reynald Pedros (Lyon)
Fifa Fan Award: Peru fans
Fair Play Award: Lennart Thy
Best Women’s Player: Marta (Orlando Pride/Brazil)
Best Men’s Player: Luka Modric (Real Madrid/Croatia)
Fifa FIFPro World XI of the Year
Goalkeeper: David De Gea (Spain, Manchester United)
Defenders: Dani Alves (Brazil, Paris Saint-Germain), Raphael Varane (France, Real Madrid), Sergio Ramos (Spain, Real Madrid), Marcelo (Brazil, Real Madrid)
Midfielders: Luka Modric (Croatia, Real Madrid), N’Golo Kante (France, Chelsea), Eden Hazard (Belgium, Chelsea)
Forwards: Kylian Mbappe (France, Paris Saint-Germain), Lionel Messi (Argentina, Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal, Real Madrid/currently Juventus)