At long last – after years of dominance by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, we officially have a new best footballer in the world.

Croatian captain Luka Modric was chosen as Fifa’s The Best Men’s Player at a glittering awards ceremony in London on Monday night.

Modric was the inspirational skipper who was the driving force in Croatia’s fairytale run to the World Cup final, where they came up short against a powerful French outfit.

But that didn’t stop Modric – who also claimed the Golden Ball award as the player of the tournament in Russia – from being voted as the best player for 2018.

Portuguese superstar Ronaldo had won the last two The Best awards, and has five in total – the same number as his great Argentinian rival Messi.

But while Messi didn’t make the final short-list of three, Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah were in the mix with Modric this time around.

“It was an unbelievable season, the best season in my life,” Modric said.

“I’m still not realising how good a year I had collectively, individually, and I’m very proud for everything I achieved this year, and it will be remembered forever.”

There was some consolation for Liverpool and Egyptian goal-getter Salah, who was handed the Puskas Award for his strike in the Merseyside derby against Everton.

But there will be questions about whether Gareth Bale and Ronaldo’s spectacular bicycle-kick goals for Real Madrid weren’t better efforts.

Ronaldo and Messi did not attend the event as they will feature for Juventus and Barcelona on Wednesday.

As could’ve been expected, France mentor Didier Deschamps won the Coach of the Year award ahead of Zinedine Zidane – who won a third consecutive Champions League title with Real Madrid – and Croatia head coach Zlatko Dalic.

Brazilian Marta clinched the Women’s Best Player award for a record sixth time, while Reynald Pedros claimed the Best Women’s Coach award for winning the Champions League with Lyon.

Thibaut Courtois was the Best Goalkeeper, but didn’t make the FIFPro Team of the Year, with Manchester United and Spain shot-stopper David de Gea chosen.

FIFPro Team

David de Gea, Dani Alves, Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, N’Golo Kante, Eden Hazard, Kylian Mbappe, Luka Modric, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo.

@ashfakmohamed 

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