A mortal among immortals - Tribute to Luka Modric
After months of speculations, news of leaked results and whatnot, Luka Modric has finally been named as the Ballon d'Or for 2018. He has achieved a feat that no one could in the last ten years since Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi turned this award into a duopoly.
This feat has eluded the likes of Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Wesley Sneijder, Iker Casillas, Frank Ribery, Wayne Rooney and so many more who tried to compete but were completely shadowed by the extraordinary feat of this absolute aliens.
This year has been amazing for Luka Modric in each sense, third consecutive UEFA Champions League for him with Real Madrid and FIFA World Cup finals with underdogs Croatia which they eventually lost. On an individual level, he has already been crowned the FIFA best player for 2018 and won the golden ball in the World Cup which is given to the best player of the tournament.
Since the last ten years, we have become accustomed to watching the player with the most goals and trophies lift the prestigious Ballon d'Or but Luka is different. He is the kind of player who controls the game, you watch him and realise how beautiful the game of football is! He does not need to score a goal per game to prove his worth.
Modric doesn't even need to touch the ball to create a move, he might just do a shoulder faint to send the opposition in the opposite direction and create space. He does not have showboating trickery, unparalleled speed, unbelievable dribbling skills, a monstrous leap, ever-changing stylish haircuts or the ability to run with the ball sticking his feet.
The Croatian midfielder is just simple! Give him the ball at his feet and watch him unfold his trade, be it outside the boot curling inswing passes or running into tight spaces to attract defender and create space.
You watch him and you think he is normal, but just remove him from the foray and you will see his team struggle. He cannot be described using any statistics. You just watch him play and adore his elegance with the ball, his sportsman spirit and his undying dedication to his team.
But what's so special about him that the likes of Xavi and Iniesta lacked, even though they are regarded as much better players. For one instance, it is not right to compare these absolute legends but yes, the timing of the rise of Modric was much better. He had his best season when both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi didn't present the challenge like previous years.
Ronaldo's move to Juventus and the time he took to settle clearly made an impact on his chances and Messi had a poor World Cup with Argentina.
People will make comments and press will write articles about how this award was undeserved and how the Ballon d'Or has lost its credibility in the coming days. A simple question to all those people: Is the best player of the team always the one who has his name on the scoresheet most number of times? That way, goalkeepers and defenders would be useless!
All the players on the field are equally important and best at what they do. This leads us to the second question: Why not give the award to Varane then? He won the UCL and the World Cup. The answer to this is simple, Modric was better than him in his own way.
Instead of raising these meaningless and irrelevant questions we should celebrate a new champion after years of dominance by the two legends and hope that we get to see the Croatian magician at his best for many years to come.Modified 20 Dec 2019, 20:11 IST