EPL EGGHEADS offers their verdict on Ballon d’Or 2018 winner Luka Modric. Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments section!

Monday night turned out to be a momentous day in modern football. It was the night the Ballon d’Or escaped the grasp of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for the first time since Kaka got his hands on the prize in 2007.

Indeed the win of the coveted prize has capped an incredible year for Luka Modric, but the question is, is he a deserved winner? EPL EGGHEADS offers their opinion on the matter.

The Ballon d’Or is awarded to an individual based on three main qualifying criteria: individual and collective performances during the year; ‘Player class’ in terms of talent and fair play; and the player’s career as a whole. It would seem on the face of it that Modric is a worthy winner.

In 2018, Modric won the Champions League with Real Madrid for the fourth time in his career. He was the best player for Croatia as he captained them to the World Cup final for the first time ever. He won the UEFA’s Midfielder of the season, the World Cup Golden Ball and the Best FIFA Men’s Player award. As far as collective and individual accolades go, it’s rather difficult to do much better.

Few can dispute his talent. He is the beating heart for club and country, a real leader in both dressing rooms, a player of such breadth of quality that its extraordinary to think he was once told he wouldn’t make it as a professional player. At the World Cup he completed the most passes (484) and the most touches (624), in terms of fair play he was booked just 6 times in 56 appearances for club and country this year, and never sent off. In fact he has only seen red just once in his entire senior career.

His career so far has been outstanding! He has four League titles, six domestic cups, four Champions Leagues, six global club titles, four FIFA Pro World XI nominations, four times part of the Champions League Team of the season, and the best player at the club World Cup and World Cup in the last 12 months. And that’s not taking into account all of his accolades this calendar year.

In my humble opinion, Luka Modric has nothing more to prove, nothing more to achieve and nothing more to win in this beautiful game – bar the Ballon d’Or. That in itself speaks volumes.

Of course being called the “best player in the world” is a close to impossible feat. The reason for this is simply because footballers today co-exist in a time that has produced the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Messi missing out on the top 3 is mind-boggling! The reality is the gifted Argentinian has, in his illustrious career, made extraordinary feel normal and something that we should expect to see week in and week out. There can be no other valid explanation for him finishing outside of the top three.

Messi once again inspired Barcelona to another La Liga and Copa del Rey double. A treble-completing Champions League evaded them but the Messi was able to score 41 times with 20 assists in just 45 appearances. That combined statistic dwarfs everyone else in Europe’s top 5 Leagues in the same period. To think that his inability to carry a country, obviously incapable of achieving World Cup glory, should be a blemish on his career is ludicrous. That touch, technique, poise and level-headedness which saw him score against Nigeria in Russia, to give his Country a chance, alone can justify his greatness and the title of Best Player in the World.

However, in my opinion, being the G.O.A.T is not the only criteria and nor should it be. The Ballon d’Or is clearly awarded against the backdrop of various factors. Change is also a welcomed feeling in football. Seeing Modric bring the Messi-Ronaldo duopoly to an end is not only exciting but also keeps us on the edge of our seats. There are many players who are capable of becoming extraordinary footballers. Who knows who will be winning these awards in 10 years time?

Luka Modric is a sublime footballer and one of the finest midfielders of his generation, he is almost always a delight to watch and his achievement should be celebrated. So to you Luka, we say well done! You deserve it!


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