How Luka Modric conquered the football world in 2018

Modric won the UEFA Champions League with Real Madrid in May, took the Golden Ball at the World Cup in July, was named Europe’s best player in August, won the FIFA world’s best player award in Septemb

Croatian midfielder Luka Modric capped a ‘golden’ year, winning the Ballon d’Or award on Monday in Monaco, France.



Modric has arguably had the best year of his career, at least as far as accolades are concerned;



Modric won the UEFA Champions League with Real Madrid in May, took the Golden Ball at the World Cup in July and was named Europe’s best player of the year by UEFA in August.



The 33-year-old Croatian also won the FIFA award that recognises the world’s best player, before taking home the prestigious Ballon d’Or award, which had in the past 10 years been shared by Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Argentina’s Lionel Messi.



In this article, we look back at the defining moments of 2018 that defined Modric’s rise to the position of world’s best football year.



May: Modric wins third straight Champions League



In May this year, Spanish club side, Real Madrid defeated Liverpool to win a third consecutive Champions League title.



The unmatched feat etched the club and the players who had dominated Europe for three years in the pages of history. Real Madrid is Europe’s most successful club with 13 titles.



Modric, was an integral part of the team that won the Champions League for Real Madrid in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018.



July: Modric wins Golden Ball at World Cup



Modric was named the tournament’s best player and given the Golden Ball as a reward for leading the Croatian team to the final of the World Cup for the first time.



Modric beat Belgium’s Eden Hazard and France’s Antoine Griezmann to the top player accolade.



Croatia won all group games, including a famous win over Messi’s Argentina, in which Modric scored a sensational goal. They then overcame Denmark, hosts Russia and England on the way to the final.



While Croatia lost the final (2-4) to France, Modric had made such an impression for his emhatic workrate and the sheer will of the Croatian team to go all the way.



READ MORE: Croatia’s ‘Golden Generation’ has delivered

August: Europe’s Best Player



In August, Modric beat off competition from Ronaldo and Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah, to win the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year for 2017/2018.



He was also named the UEFA Champions League Midfielder of the Season.



“Always available to receive the ball, he is incredibly important to how the champions want to play,” said the UEFA Technical Observers when selecting Modrić in the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League Squad of the Season.



‘‘Though the 32-year-old is neither a prolific goalscorer nor an outright defensive shield, his dynamism and quality in possession set him apart.’‘



September: Modric is World’s Best – FIFA



In September, Ronaldo, Salah and Modric were up against each other agin, this time for the FIFA award for the best footballer of the year.



FIFA highlighted Modric’s wins with Real Madrid including the Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, Spanish Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup, in addition to Russia’s ‘best player of the tournament’ performances.



READ MORE: Modric beats Salah, Ronaldo to Best FIFA Men’s Player 2018

December: Modric is world’s best player – Ballon d’Or



On Monday this week, Modric crowned a fantastic 2018, breaking the duopoly of Ronaldo and Messi at the Ballon d’Or awards.



The award, voted for by journalists and organized by French magazine France Football, has been dominated by Barcelona’s Messi and Ronaldo, who have won all ten awards (five apiece) since Brazillian Kaka won in 2007 while playing for AC Milan.



“It’s a unique feeling. I’m happy proud and honored, I have a lot of emotions right now, it’s hard to describe in words,” said Modric, wearing a tuxedo as he collected the award.



‘4The Ballon d’Or was more than a dream. I simply cannot believe it. For all my career, I have tried to work hard and have persistence. In the tough moments, you have to show your courage and I always said the best things do not come easy. To achieve all this, it has not been easy.’‘



Modric got 753 points followed by Ronaldo on 476, Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann with 414 and Paris St-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe was fourth with 347, ahead of Messi on 280.



ALSO READ: Norway’s Hegerberg wins inaugural Ballon d’Or award celebrating women’s football

Testimonies about Modric



Modric started his professional football career at Croatian side Dinamo Zagreb in 2001, before moving to England in 2008. He played for Tottenham Hotspur for four seasons before moving to Real Madrid in 2012.



Over the years, he has earned the respect and trust of his peers.



“He is a player who has a very different talent, he improves anyone who is around him. It shows when he is not on the field – Madrid are a different team without Luka,” said Croatia team-mate Ivan Rakitić.



“Even if we leave trophies aside, the way he plays and the way he dominates for Real Madrid is impressive,” former Madrid and Croatia midfielder Robert Prosinečki.



“It’s not easy to stop Modrić because he’s such a clever player – he can read the game so well and can play in many different areas,” former Madrid manager José Mourinho.



AFCON U-20: Mali crowned champions

Mali beats Senegal at the finals of the U- 20 AFCON in Niger to back home her first continental title for the category.

Mali beats Senegal at the finals of the U- 20 AFCON in Niger
to back home her first continental title for the category.

Liverpool, Juventus, Barcelona and Fc Bayern all take center stage as the journey to unseat Real Madrid as Europe’s best continues with the 16th finals of the Uefa Champions League.

Ahead of the 2019 Afcon Yannick Bolasie of the DR Congo seeks play time in Belgian top flight, we shall be getting his reaction at the end of his first game with his new employers.

Kaepernick reaches deal with NFL - Lawyer

He was unsigned as a free agent through the fall of the season after he opted out of a contract with the San Francisco 49ers

Colin Kaepernick, one of the most visible players to protest against racial injustice during the U.S. national anthem, has resolved grievances with the National Football League.

His attorney, Mark Geragos said via Twitter on Friday that the resolution was subject to a confidentiality agreement and so the team said there would be no further comment by either party.

Kaepernick, 31, filed a collusion grievance against NFL owners in October 2017.

He was unsigned as a free agent through the fall of the season after he opted out of a contract with the San Francisco 49ers. Since then, the former NFL quarterback has been unable to find a team to play for.

Kaepernick led the 49ers to the Super Bowl game in 2013.

Reuters

Saudi flags Crown Prince - Man United acquisition report 'offside'

Reports that Mohammed Bin Salman intends to buy the club are “completely false”, the minister, Turki al-Shabanah, wrote on social network Twitter.

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince is not seeking to buy Premier League football club Manchester United, the kingdom’s media minister said on Monday, denying reports and adding that there had only been a meeting with the Saudi wealth fund regarding sponsorship.

Reports that Mohammed Bin Salman intends to buy the club are “completely false”, the minister, Turki al-Shabanah, wrote on social network Twitter.

He was reacting to reports that the crown prince had sought to tempt the Glazer family to cede control of the club.

“Manchester United held a meeting with PIF Saudi to discuss (a) sponsorship opportunity,” Shabanah said, adding that no deal materialised.

On Sunday, the British newspaper, the Sun, said the crown prince was in a £3.8-billion ($4.9-billion) takeover bid for one of football’s most popular clubs.

The paper said a bid was first submitted in October but the fallout from the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s embassy in Istanbul put the “skids” on a potential offer.

REUTERS

Ethiopian teenager smashes 1,500m world indoor record

It came on the same Birmingham track where Tefera had won the world title last year.

Ethiopian teenager Samuel Tefera outduelled compatriot Yomif Kejelcha to break the world indoor 1,500 metres record in Birmingham on Saturday.

Tefera, 19, clocked three minutes, 31.04 seconds at the IAAF World Indoor Tour meeting to take down Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj’s 1997 record of 3:31.18.

It came on the same Birmingham track where Tefera had won the world title last year. Tefera kicked past Kejelcha after the bell for the final lap and charged to the finish line. Kejelcha finished second in a personal best of 3:31.58.

Kejelcha, the 21-year-old two-time world indoor 3,000m champion, had come within 0.01 of the world indoor mile record last week in New York. He had announced before Saturday’s race he would be going for the 1,500m record.

Scotland’s Laura Muir became the third-fastest indoor miler of all-time at the same meeting when she broke the British record. The European champion clocked 4:18.75.

The world record is 4:13.31 by Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba in 2016.

REUTERS

Sala's family bids final farewell

28 year old Sala, had been flying from his previous club Nantes in western France to Wales on January 21 to make his debut for the Premier League team.

A coffin carrying the remains of footballer, Emiliano Sala carried from a vigil site to a hearse by the star’s friends and family on Saturday.

Sala’s coffin was at a vigil inside Sala’s childhood club, San Martin de Progreso, in Santa Fe, Argentina, during the day before being moved to a hearse.

Crowds applauded and some openly wept as the Cardiff player’s coffin was driven through the streets to a private ceremony in Santa Fe city, where Sala’s body is due to be cremated.

Sala,28, had been flying from his previous club Nantes in western France to Wales on January 21 to make his debut for the Premier League team.

His single-engined Piper Malibu aircraft he was travelling in disappeared over the English Channel.

Wreckage was found on February 3 following a privately-funded underwater search and a body recovered on February 6.

The body was taken to southern England where it was positively identified as Sala.

Reuters