Monday, September 24, 2018

Can UEFA Player of the Year Luka Modric Pip Cristiano Ronaldo to Ballon D’Or Prize?

Milos Markovic in Editorial, UEFA Champions League 31 Aug 2018

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“Football is played within the four lines and there, Cristiano Ronaldo won. He scored 15 goals, taking Real Madrid on his back to conquer the Champions League once again.

“It’s simply ridiculous, shameful.”, Cristiano Ronaldo agent Jorge Mendes told Portuguese sports paper Record reacting to Luka Modric scooping the UEFA Player of the Year award in Monaco on Thursday night.

It’s hard to even imagine what his reaction would be if the Croatian mastermind won the coveted Ballon d’Or as well!

Ballon d’Or Duopoly About to be Broken?

This year’s edition of the biggest individual prize in world football will bear huge symbolism as it marks exactly ten years since Cristiano Ronaldo initiated a decade-long dominance together with Barcelona superstar Leo Messi.

These two have ever since won five Ballons d’Or apiece and it was Cristiano Ronaldo – as the Champions League winner who guided Real Madrid to their 13th European crown with both goals and impressive performances – who hoped that 2018 would be the year that he finally got one over his archenemy.

The Portuguese superstar remain the hot favourite to claim his sixth Ballon d’Or award with 2/5 betting odds stacked in his favour whereas Leo Messi sits in fifth place with the bookies with a whopping price of 16/1.

Still, with both players crashing out of the World Cup in the early stages of the competition while also underperforming for their respective nations in Russia, this year’s Ballon d’Or could prove to be one of the most uncertain in last ten years.

New Kids on the Block

One the players who could – and is backed to – break the Ronaldo/Messi dominance is Luka Modric.

Not exactly a new kid on the block, the experienced Croatia and Real Madrid midfielder has emerged as the second favourite, right behind Ronaldo, and is given a cool 3/1 price to get out on top in the race for the desired piece of silverware.

The 32-year-old midfielder has beaten his former Real Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo and Liverpool star forward Mohamed Salah to the UEFA Player of the Year on Thursday, thus capping a remarkable season with both club and country.

Having edged Eden Hazard and Antoine Griezmann to the Golden Ball award at this summer’s World Cup in Russia, Luka Modric has become the first player – since Ronaldo in 1998 – to also scoop the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year accolade.

The Croatia midfield maestro managed to accumulate more minutes than anyone else in his nation’s run to the World Cup final. He scored in Croatia’s two opening matches at the tournament – against Nigeria and Argentina – while he also added an assist to put his hands on the MVP award in Russia.

His outstanding performance for Croatia came as a continuation of the impressive form he displayed for Real Madrid. And while Cristiano Ronaldo was out there to grab the headlines with impressive goals – one of which was officially voted the UEFA Goal of the Year – it was Luka Modric who was pulling the strings.

Should the Croatia international emerge as a Ballon d’Or winner this year, it would be the first time a midfielder has scooped the award since Kaka in 2007.

Surely it would be a cause for another ‘shameful’ reaction from the superagent Jorge Mendes, right?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Milos Markovic


Formerly a Chief Editor at the largest sports site in Serbia Sportske.net, Milos Markovic is an avid football writer who contributes to a variety of online football magazines - most prominently Soccernews.com and Futbolgrad.com. His feature articles, editorials, interviews and match analyses have provided informed opinion and views, helping the football aficionados keep up to date on relevant events in world football.

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