Luka Modric is being tipped to win the Ballon d’Or on Monday night – and end Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi’s decade of dominance. Real Madrid’s Croatian star won the Champions League for a third year in a row and led his nation to the World Cup final.
It crowned a glorious year for Modric, 33, who looks set to edge out Ronaldo – while Messi could even miss out on making the top three this time.
Juventus striker Ronaldo, 33, and 31-year-old Barcelona superstar Messi have each won the honour five times since 2008.
Ex-Brazil star Kaka was the last player other than Messi or Ronaldo to win the award.
Messi’s potential omission caused astonishment from his Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde with the Argentinian regarded by many as the best of all time.
“He must have played really badly in the third and fourth week, then… Ah, no, he was injured!
“What can we say? We can congratulate the players who are in the top three. It is a little bit strange, but there you are.”