London, UK : Real Madrid’s Croatia midfielder Luka Modric was named Best FIFA Men’s Player of the Year for 2018, while Orlando Pride’s Brazil forward Marta won the women’s award at a ceremony on Monday.
Luka Modric capped off a dream season by being named the best men’s player at the 2018 Best FIFA Awards on Monday.
The Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder won a third consecutive Champions League title, before capturing the Golden Ball as the World Cup’s top player in helping Croatia make a surprise run to final.
His former Real Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo, who won the prize in the past two years, and Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah were the other finalists.
Portugal international Ronaldo, who joined Juventus from Real Madrid in the close season, was second in this year’s awards with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah in third place.
“It is a great honour and a beautiful feeling to stand here with this amazing trophy,” he said at the award show in London. “This award is not just mine.
“It is my teammates’ from Real Madrid and Croatia. Without my coaches I would not have won this.
“This award shows that we can all become the best with hard work and dedication. All your dreams can come true.”
It is the first time since Brazilian Kaka’s triumph in 2007 that the men’s prize was not won by either Cristiano Ronaldo or Barcelona’s Argentina forward Lionel Messi — neither of whom attended the ceremony at London’s Royal Festival Hall.
Didier Deschamp was named top men’s coach after leading France to their second World Cup title in July.
He beat out Zinedine Zidane, who orchestrated Real Madrid’s European victory in his final season at the club, and Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic were the other finalists.
“We are nothing without our players,” Deschamps said.
“I want to thank my whole team, they worked to get me here and get this trophy tonight.”
Thibaut Courtois was named best goalkeeper after helping Belgium finish third at the World Cup.
He beat out France and Tottenham Hotspur captain Hugo Lloris and Kasper Schmeichel of Denmark and Leicester City.
“I’m really proud and happy to win this trophy,” Courtois, who moved to Real Madrid from Chelsea this summer, said.
“I want to thank my teammates and coaches, they always give me the best advice.”
Marta was named best women’s player over teammates Ada Hegerberg and Dzenifer Marozsan of French and European champions Lyon.
Marta captained Brazil to the Copa America title and helped the Orlando Pride reach the semi-finals of the National Women’s Soccer League play-offs in the United States.
“I have always looked forward to winning an award like this as a footballer,” she said.
Reynald Pedros, who guided Lyon to the French/European double, won best women’s coach over Netherlands national team boss Sarina Wiegman and Japan’s Asako Takakura.
“I want to thank my staff because it is a collective work even if today is just an individual prize,” Pedros said.
Modric and Ronaldo were part of the FIFPro World XI team chosen by more than 24,000 professionals worldwide.
They were joined by David De Gea (Manchester United/Spain), Dani Alves (PSG/Brazil), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid/France), Marcelo (Real Madrid/Brazil), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid/Spain), N’Golo Kante (Chelsea/France), Eden Hazard (Chelsea/Belgium), Lionel Messi (Barcelona/Argentina) and Kylian Mbappe (PSG/France).
Salah missed out on the World XI but did win the Puskas Award for best goal for his effort against Everton, in which he beat two players in the area and curled a shot into the top corner.
The award for best fans went to the 40,000 Peru supporters who travelled to Russia to back their team’s first World Cup appearance in 36 years.
The FIFA Fair Play Award went to striker Lennart Thy of Dutch club VVV-Venlo, who missed an Eredivisie match to donate stem cells to a leukemia patient.
The Best FIFA Football Awards were decided in a vote by international captains and coaches, as well as media voting and an online ballot of fans.
Image : The Best FIFA Football Awards – Royal Festival Hall, London, Britain – September 24, 2018 Luka Modric and Marta pose with their awards.