FIFA last week released a 10-man shortlist for the Best Men's Player, to be awarded at The Best FIFA Awards ceremony slated to take place in London on 24 September 2018. The shortlist reads like a who's who in football, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe.
While Ronaldo is the favourite to retain the award for the third consecutive year, with eternal rival Lionel Messi not too far behind, owing to their extra-terrestrial performances over the course of their careers, it is another who most deserves the award.
Luka Modric has been the standard bearer for midfielders in the last five seasons, and he raised the bar further with a player-of-the-tournament performance to help his country attain a second place finish in the World Cup last month.
The 32-year-old has maintained his elite level of performance since his 2012 transfer to Real Madrid from Tottenham, and owing to his performances over the last year, deserves to be named the FIFA Best Men's Player, here are three reasons backing him up.
#3 The FIFA Awards in a World Cup year should reward World Cup performances
The World Cup is the grandest stage in football, and a spectacular performance at it guarantees a player immortality in the annals of football history. Players like Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Muller, Johann Cruyff, Diego Maradona, Paolo Rossi, Lothar Matthaus, Romario, Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo De Lima are still spoken of mythically till this day owing to their incredible performance at the World Cup.
In times gone by, the now-defunct FIFA World Best Player in any World Cup year was awarded to the best player from the World Cup winning team. Lothar Matthaus in 1991, Romario in 1994, Zinedine Zidane in 1998, Ronaldo De Lima in 2002 and Fabio Cannavaro in 2006.
The merging of the awards with the Ballon d'Or in 2009, and the emergence of the extra-terrestrials that are Ronaldo and Messi changed all that, as the awards became a personal contest between the duo and World Cup performance took a backseat in determining the best player in the world.
With the separation of the awards in 2016, and the 'decline' of Messi and Ronaldo, it is time to respect the sanctity of the World Cup by using it as a yardstick to determine who the best player in the world is, and that player should be Luka Modric.
The former Dinamo Zagreb midfielder helped his nation rise above corruption trials, a struggling economy back home and a dissenting colleague to put in a beautiful team performance, and win the World over despite their second-place finish.
Despite having a personal court case for complicity in corruption allegations, Modric rose above that to put in an emphatic emphatic performance at the World Cup, captaining Croatia to a runners-up finish, providing inspiration to lift his teammates as they saw out their opponents in three gruelling extra-time periods in all their knock-out fixtures, and was deservedly named the Golden Ball Winner in Russia.
By cirtue of being the best player at the World Cup, Modric deserves to be named the best player in the world.