Luka Modric: The Ballon d’Or’s Newest Winner


Luka Modric

Hunter Neuman, Co-Sports Editor

The Ballon d’Or is the award for the best soccer player in the world. It is given every year and for ten straight years and has only been given to two players: Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Throughout those ten years, each player was bestowed the award five times, but now there is a new winner. Luka Modric, a Croatian center-midfielder for Real Madrid, was given this award last Monday, becoming the first Croatian player to ever win the Ballon d’Or.  

Modric at Spurs

Modric began his youth career in Croatia with Zadar in 1996. Six years later, he moved to Dinamo Zagreb—another Croatian club—and a year later he moved onto the first team. He played in Croatia professionally until 2008, when Tottenham Hotspur F.C. saw potential in Modric, and they signed him for 15.8 million GBP (around 20 million USD). It was there in London that Modric shined. His brilliant passing ability, as well as his defensive skills allowed him to boss the midfield both offensively and defensively. At Spurs he scored 13 goals, and had 15 assists before leaving to arguably the most renowned club of all time: Real Madrid.

At Real Madrid, Modric continued his dominance. With the help of  world class midfielders in Toni Kroos and Casemiro, Real Madrid’s midfield was the best in the world. So far, Modric has helped Madrid win one Spanish Cup, one Spanish League trophy, as well as four Champions League trophies, with the last three being the past three years.

Although this success is noted by many, the factor that set Modric apart from others to win the Ballon d’Or was his performance in the World Cup. The World Cup is the biggest sports event world wide, with billions of viewers watching the spectacle. It takes place every four years, and it is a competition between the countries that qualify. Croatia has a fairly decent team, however Modric was able to bring this team all the way to the World Cup final. He scored two goals for Croatia and had one assist. He played the most minutes out of everyone in the competition, and he still had the energy to lead his country all the way to the final.

Modric at Real Madrid

Although these achievements prove him worthy of the award, many feel that others deserved it more. Cristiano Ronaldo is the most arguable choice. He also plays for Real Madrid, and he was the leading scorer of the Champions League with 15 goals. Cristiano was placed second in the rankings, even with such a great season.

Despite the backlash he has received, Luka Modric was worthy to win the award and he still is. Luka is one of, if not the best, center midfielders in the world. His performance last year is proof that he is a world class player, and although Real Madrid is in a slight decline, with his talent, the team will be able to bounce back.