Real Madrid midfield maestro Luka Modric ended Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi’s dominance on Monday as he won the FIFA best player award, becoming the first player except for the two forwards in almost a decade to win the prize.
His victory is not just good for football, it is extremely positive for midfielders all-around the world. It is a clear message that if you work hard enough, and make the world recognise your talents, success is guaranteed even in a era so overwhelmingly dominated by Messi and Ronaldo.
There are more pros and possibly no cons to Modric’s historic win. Lionel Messi has ruled the football world for as long as we can remember, and Cristiano Ronaldo has too been second to none. Although Messi did not make it to the top 3 and Ronaldo did, the stakes were still pretty high. What Modric has managed to achieve is something that Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Franck Ribery, Neymar and Luis Suarez could not.
Modric beat Cristiano Ronaldo to an award which was long perceived as the deserved property of goal-scoring machines. To a midfielder’s horror, scoring 50 goals in a single season is impossible, irrespective of how elite the goal-scoring abilities are.
If you compare Modric’s stats with Ronaldo’s, Messi’s or even Muhammad Salah‘s, the Croatian would lose every time, but for once, this award was not about stats but about influence and performances is a welcome sign for football.
This gives midfielders great hope. Moreover, this also means the social media and football circles would not aimlessly argue over who among Messi and Ronaldo deserved it more but would celebrate Modric’s genius. He deserves the award because he has been sensational. It would not be an over-statement if it was said that Ronaldo managed all those goals because he had someone like Modric pulling the strings.
And not to forget his performances in the World Cup 2018, which led Croatia to its first major international final. For a nation not known to be one of the football’s elite, a glorious world cup stint like that was huge.
There is still a lot of debate about the award, nonetheless, but there will always be debates. The bottom-line is; Modric’s win marks a new beginning for football. It is a message subtly sent to the football world, and to anyone for that matter, that nothing is greater than grit, and no one is too good to lose.