Luka Modric ended the 10-year domination of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi as he was named the finest player in the world.
Croatian schemer Modric saw off the challenge of Ronaldo and Liverpool’s Mo Salah to scoop the Fifa Best Awards at a glittering ceremony in London’s Royal Festival Hall.
But the night was overshadowed by a Ronaldo-Messi no-show as the Portuguese superstar declined to make the trip from Turin to London and Barcelona’s Argentine pleaded family commitments.
Ronaldo and Messi had each won the award five times over the past decade and should have picked up their trophies for being in the team of the year.
Despite that seeming double strop, former Spurs midfielder Modric was rewarded for his part in steering Real Madrid to their unprecedented third consecutive Champions League and then guiding his homeland to the World Cup Final.
England boss Gareth Southgate conceded Modric had made the difference as Croatia came from behind to beat the Three Lions in their semi-final showdown.