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Ballon d'Or 2018: 4 players who were as instrumental as Luka Modric for Croatia at the World Cup

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2.12K   //    06 Dec 2018, 00:57 IST

The golden generation of Croatia
The golden generation of Croatia

Luka Modric won the Ballon d'Or 2018 on December 3 2018, thus ending the decade long dominance of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Luka Modric was a heavy favourite heading into the gala, having previously won the UEFA Best Player and the FIFA Best Player awards. Despite stats being on his opposite side, even when it comes to play-making, he was heavily favoured by many due to his 'exceptional' World Cup campaign.

Croatia reached the World Cup finals in 2018, where they eventually lost to France. Luka had won the Golden Ball award at the event. It is a fact that Luka performed brilliantly in the World Cup, but another fact is that there were players who were as good as he was, and were given little credit for the success. Luka was hailed as the pivot and the lone warrior in his team for their success.

This is a myth that everyone believes, thus skyrocketing Luka's status as the best player in the world. However, it is worth noting that Luka Modric was Man of the Match in only one of the games.

This explains the fact that in each match there were players better than him. The Argentina game aided Luka's case for the Ballon d'Or, having played an important role in defeating Lionel Messi's team was the starting point of having Luka in the Golden Ball conversation. But little was the fact noted that this was an utterly poor Argentina team, and Luka's performances certainly dipped in the following games.

Still taking nothing away from Luka, here are four players who were as instrumental as he was in the World Cup campaign (even more instrumental, if you like to believe so).

#4 Mario Mandzukic

Super Mario!
Super Mario!

Juventus' star striker was the joint top-scorer for Croatia at the World Cup. His goals came in pressure matches i.e: the knockouts, all of them. His first goal was the early equaliser against Denmark.

He then went on to score the winner in the game against England. Then he added to his tally with his goal against France in the finals, which could be owed to a blunder by Lloris.

Still, Mandzukic would be the one who has to take the blame for the loss in the finals, owing to his own goal against France. But he was clinical in his finishing when it mattered, for all we know, if the England game had gone to penalties, then Croatia were second favourites. But Super Mario would intervene.

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