Luka Modric ended the decade long Ballon d’Or duopoly of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo earlier this month and now the Real Madrid midfielder hasn’t held back in criticism over the pairs absence from the awards.
10 years is a long time to stay at the top of anything. Even Roger Federer hasn’t always been in the top two tennis players at the end of every year for the past decade so for Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to be in the top two for so long was quite remarkable.
The pair won five Ballon d’Ors each in their 10 years and if they didn’t win then they’d always be second to the other one but this year the run ended.
Earlier this month Luka Modric won the award after a year in which the Croatian helped Real Madrid win a third Champions League in a row and then won the Golden Ball at the World Cup as his country reached the final for the first time.
There was a lot of debate about whether or not Modric should have won but even more controversial was Messi and Ronaldo no showing the awards.
In an interview with Sportske Novosti the Real Madrid midfielder was asked how he felt about their absence and criticism from their fans of him winning, answering:
“I can’t say why somebody decided not to show up, that’s their choice. Doesn’t make much sense to me not to attend, though. I guess they liked showing up when they were winning the awards.
“Such behavior is unfair towards the other players, the fans, the game and finally towards the voters who gave them the award for 10 years in a row. But I guess everyone acts as they please.”
Messi did at least vote for the Croatian in the awards and, whilst Ronaldo’s absence meant he missed out on receiving his second place award, Messi wasn’t even in the top three, finishing fifth.
Modric also won The Best FIFA Player award as well earlier this year, giving him a clean sweep of the player awards in 2018.
It wouldn’t be the biggest surprise if Messi and Ronaldo are back on the top two steps next year but for now it’s nice to see someone else recognised for a brilliant year.