This was also the first time since 2013, that a player has won the award with less than 30% of the votes.
The Barcelona and Real Madrid hegemony at The Best FIFA Football Awards has not yet been broken, but the change of individual was a breath of fresh air. Real Madrid and Croatian midfield metronome Luka Modric was named as the Best Player of the Year, following his talismanic performances in European club competitions and the World Cup.
It was a move which showed that FIFA are trying to look at more than just individual numbers and statistics. The Croatian skipper fought off competition from Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah. He won his fourth Champions League title in May and also led his country to the final in Russia. The 33-year-old was also named as UEFA Men’s Player of the Year last month.
Indian skipper Sunil Chhetri went for Luka Modric as his first choice, while gaffer Stephen Constantine went for Mohamed Salah
The votes were put in by coaches, captains and journalists. From India, it was Stephen Constantine, Sunil Chhetri, and Dhiman Sarkar (a reputed sports journalist of the Hindustan Times) who voted. Chhetri is known to be a Barcelona fan, but didn’t go for Lionel Messi. Also, none of them went for Cristiano Ronaldo.
Coach Constantine chose Liverpool and Egypt scorcher Mohamed Salah as his first choice, followed by World Cup Golden Boot winner Harry Kane and then Kevin De Bruyne. Skipper Chhetri went for Modric, followed by World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe as well as De Bruyne. Sarkar selected Champions League and France World Cup winner Raphael Varane, followed by Modric and then De Bruyne.
Meanwhile, Frenchman Didier Deschamps who won the Best Coach of the Year, voted for fellow countrymen Antoine Griezmann, Varane, and Mbappe. English gaffer Gareth Southgate went for Modric, Varane, and Eden Hazard. Meanwhile, Brazil coach Tite chose Modric, Salah and Ronaldo. Italian manager Roberto Mancini voted for Ronaldo, Mbappe, and finally Modric as his third choice.
Click here for the complete list of votes.
The ceremony was snubbed by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, which caught a lot of media attention, with many criticising the move. Hopefully, in the foreseeable future, we see more unsung winners grabbing the limelight rather than just goalscorers.