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Luka Modric wins 2018 men's Ballon d'Or award

December 3, 2018

The Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder has broken a decade-long hold on the award by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Norwegian striker Ada Hegerberg became the first ever woman to be awarded the prize.

Paris Ballon d'Or Verleihung Modric
Image: Reuter/B. Tessier

Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder Luka Modric was named winner of the 2018 Ballon d'Or on Monday, in Paris. The 33-year-old won his third successive Champions League title in May and was led Croatia to its first FIFA World Cup final in Russia. He was named player of the tournament despite his side losing 4-2 to France.

Modric's win broke Cristiano Ronaldo's and Lionel Messi's decade-long dominance over the prestigious award. The last time that a player other than Ronaldo and Messi won the award was in 2007, when the brazil's Kaka of AC Milan was awarded the prize.

The Ballon d'Or winner is voted for by journalists and organized by French magazine France Football.

Read more: The two sides of 'FIFA Best' Luka Modric

Hegerberg: Best female player

For the first time in the history of the Ballon d'Or prize, the female player category was awarded. Norwegian striker Ada Hegerberg of Olympique Lyon took home the award. The 23-year-old prevailed over Danish star Pernille Harder, of German club VfL Wolfsburg, and Brazil legend Marta.

Despite being named best female footballer in the world, Hegerberg will not play for Norway at the Women's World Cup in France in 2019. She explained her decision as a kind of protest against the unfair treatment of women in Norwegian football.

Paris Ballon d'Or winner Ada Hegerberg
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/C. Ena

Hegerberg called the award "a huge step for women's football."  However, she also expressed frustration about living "in such a man's world" and said the award will not make her reconsider her refusal to play for Norway because of her unhappiness over perceived inequality.

Mbappe: best young player

Earlier in the night, French national player and World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe was named winner of the Kopa Trophy for young player of the year. The Paris Saint-Germain forward also won the best young player award in Russia.

Read more: Manuel Neuer: The people's champion

The new award - named after French former Ballon d'Or winner Raymond Kopa - was voted for by 33 living former winners of the main Ballon d'Or prize. Mbappe was also among the 30 nominees to win that award, finishing fourth. He has scored 32 goals in 56 games for club and country in the calendar year. 

jcg/rt (AP, AFP)

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