Luka Modric, the midfield maestro who won the Champions League title with Real Madrid and then helped lead Croatia to the World Cup final, was honored Monday with the Ballon d’Or as world player of the year.
Modric’s victory ended a 10-year run in which Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi traded possession of the award, considered one of world soccer’s top individual honors. Ronaldo was second this year, his record sixth runner-up finish (to go with five wins). Atlético Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann was third, just ahead of his France teammate Kylian Mbappé.
Messi, who won a league and Copa del Rey double with Barcelona but endured a miserable World Cup with Argentina, finished fifth in the voting by soccer journalists, which is overseen by the magazine France Football.