Ballon d'Or 2018: Luka Modric is the undisputed king, but Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi are not done yet
The glittering Ballon d'Or ceremony cemented Luka Modric's status as the best player in the world. He had already won the Golden Ball at the FIFA World Cup and FIFA's Best Player award this year, and this latest award only reinforces his impact on the football world in 2018.
Obviously, this year belongs to Luka Modric, the first player from the erstwhile Yugoslavia to take the award home. He will be remembered forever for his sensational performances that took Croatia and Real Madrid to new heights.
But Modric will also be cherished as the man who broke the unstoppable duopoly of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Ronaldo and Messi dominated the individual awards for a decade, winning the Ballon D'Or five times each. Kaka was the last player to win the award before Ronaldo and Messi won it 10 times between them.
The duopoly seemed impossible to break until Modric's perfect year, and it is evident that the Croat has won the respect of everyone. His efforts helped Real Madrid retain UEFA Champions League before he took Croatia to the final of the World Cup.
Modric was the mind and soul of the Real Madrid side as they won three consecutive UEFA Champions League trophies in a row.
The World Cup played a crucial role in dictating the individual awards as Modric was better than both Ronaldo and Messi at the biggest stage of world football. He was one of the key players as Croatia pushed above their weight to reach the final of the tournament.
But surely, this is not the end for Ronaldo or Messi. They have continued to mesmerize us with their impossible feats for both club and country. They have kept destroying opponents as while racking up unprecedented statistics and helping their team at crunch moments.
Ronaldo will end the year as the top scorer of the Champions League and leagues whereas Messi will end the year with most assists and most goals in all competitions. Their records and exploits on the pitch show why we should not count them out, especially since both of them have a nasty habit of proving their critics wrong.
Of course, they are not getting any younger; Ronaldo and Messi will turn 34 and 32 respectively in 2019. But they are showing no signs of stopping anytime soon. Both of them are dominating upfront in their respective leagues, and playing a pivotal role for their teams in the process.
While Modric's Ballon d'Or triumph took the award away from Ronaldo and Messi, it will not be surprising to see them dominating the awards again next year. They have already started the new season in their usual sensational manner, and they will look to continue their historic rivalry - one which has already marked an era.