Modric wins Ballon d'Or

December 04, 2018
Real Madrid's Luka Modric celebrates with the Ballon d'Or award during the Golden Ball award ceremony at the Grand Palais in Paris, France yesterday. Awarded every year by France Football magazine since Stanley Matthews won it in 1956, the Ballon d'Or, Golden Ball for the best player of the year will be given to both a woman and a man. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

 

PARIS (AP):

Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric won the Ballon d'Or award for the first time yesterday, ending the 10-year dominance of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Modric won the UEFA Champions League with Madrid and then guided Croatia to the FIFA World Cup final in July. He was voted player of the tournament.

Modric, who has won the Champions League four times with Madrid, was fifth in Ballon d'Or polling last year.

Ronaldo missed out on a record sixth award, which would have moved him one ahead of Messi. The last player to win it before those two started dominating world football awards was Brazil midfielder Kaka with AC Milan in 2007.

Also, Norwegian forward Ada Hegerberg won the inaugural women's Ballon d'Or. But despite being recognized as the best female footballer in the world, the outspoken 23-year-old Hegerberg said she will not play for Norway at the FIFA Women's World Cup in France next June.

Taking a stand against what she describes as a lack of respect for female players in Norway, Hegerberg has not played for the national team since it crashed out of the group stage of the Women's European Championship in 2017 without scoring a goal. In Paris to collect her Ballon d'Or at a gala on Monday, Hegerberg told The Associated Press she has no plans to reconsider her decision taken to preserve her "authenticity and my values, as a person, as a footballer."

"A lot of things need to be done to make the conditions better for women who play football," she said. "It's all about how we respect women's football. I don't think the respect has been there. Sometimes you have to take tough decisions to stay true to yourself. I let them know, quite clearly, what I found wasn't working."

The three-time Women's UEFA Champions League winner with French team Lyon says she will be resting during the World Cup and training for the next season with her club.

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