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Luka Modric beats Ronaldo and Messi for world footballer of the year

Luka Modric beats Ronaldo and Messi for world footballer of the year
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LONDON—Luka Modric broke a decade of award dominance by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi after being crowned world footballer of the year by FIFA on Monday.

Marta won the women’s award for a sixth time.

Orlando Pride and Brazil forward Marta, and Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder Luka Modric winners of the Best FIFA Women’s and Men’s Player of 2018 Award.  (BEN STANSALL / AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Marta won her first FIFA player of the year award since 2010 after leading Brazil to Copa America Femenina glory. She also scored 13 goals as Orlando Pride reached the NWSL playoffs.

Modric was voted FIFA’s best player in the 2017-18 season after winning the Champions League for a fourth time in five seasons with Real Madrid and leading Croatia to its first World Cup final where it lost to France.

Messi and Ronaldo were the only winners of world soccer’s main individual award from FIFA in various guises since 2008, both winning five titles each.

Messi didn’t make the three-man shortlist and skipped the trip to London. And as a new dawn in FIFA’s awards history broke inside London’s Royal Festival Hall, Ronaldo also didn’t turn up at the ceremony to be dethroned in person by his former Real Madrid teammate despite being in the final three alongside Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah.

“Two guys we don’t know,” actor Idris Elba, who hosted the show, said after revealing the world XI of the year and highlighting the absence of Messi and Ronaldo in the room.

Ronaldo, who left Madrid in the off-season to join Italian champion Juventus, was knocked out of the World Cup in the round of 16 with European champion Portugal.

Salah scored a record 32 goals in a 38-game English Premier League and helped Liverpool reach its first Champions League final in 11 years.

At 1.72 metres (five-foot-eight), Modric was doubted early in his career because of his height.

“These things were not a burden, they only further motivated me,” Modric said at the World Cup. “You don’t have to be a strapping lad to play football.”

The cloud over the 33-year-old playmaker is that he was charged with perjury in March in an investigation linked to his transfer to Tottenham from Dinamo Zagreb in 2008. Prosecutors claimed Modric gave a false court statement last year about his financial deals with a former Zagreb director.
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