The awards ceremony at The Royal Festival Hall in London saw Luka Modric of Croatia and Marta of Brazil win best male and female players of the year
Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric, 33, beat former team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo and Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah to the award, both of whom finished in second and third place respectively.
In May, Modric won his third Champions League title in a row and, in July, guided Croatia to their first ever World Cup final; at which point he had made a total of 56 appearances for club and country.
It was claimed by former England international Chris Waddle, working as a live pundit for BBC Radio 5 live, that Modric is the type of player that England were missing because of his ability to single-handedly influence games with his understanding and distribution.
Modric also won the Golden Ball award for the best player in the World Cup, having scored in both of Croatia’s opening two matches of the group stages, and setting another one up.
Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic paid tribute to Modric, saying he is like, “my assistant in the field.
“Luka Modric is the captain of my team, he’s the best player in my team and in the world, and he deserves this award.”
Upon receiving the award, Modric said: “This award is not just mine. It is my team-mates from Real Madrid and Croatia. Without my coaches, I would not have won this and without my family I would not be the player I am today.”
Meanwhile, Marta, a forward for both Brazil and Orlando Pride, won the best female player of the year award, winning it for the sixth time.
In April, Marta led Brazil to the Copa America Femenina title. She only scored one of Brazil’s 31 goals but, as a team, they did win all seven of their matches.
For Orlando Pride, however, when they reached the NWSL play-off semi-finals in the United States, Marta scored thirteen of their goals and set up six more, earning herself a place in the league’s team of the year.
Marta said: “This means so much, but it is not only about Marta, it is about my team-mates and women’s football.
“Most importantly, it is good to see women’s soccer grow each year. If I keep doing well and that can help off the field too, then I am happy.”
Image source: FIFA.com
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