Finally yesterday it ended up specifying what was an open secret during the last weeks, that Luka Modric was awarded the Ballon D'Or 2018. The Croatian ended up being imposed against Cristiano Ronaldo and Antoine Griezmann, who were in second and third place respectively.
I must admit that yesterday I felt offended and outraged as a soccer fan, because I believed in this kind of awards and I really liked them. But for me it is very hard and discouraging to see that the prize for best footballer of the year is not given to the best footballer of the year. I never thought that I would criticize Modric, because he is a footballer that I love and that I love with all my heart; It hurts me so much to have to say that I did not deserve to win this prize. Yesterday in Paris, one of the greatest injustices in the history of modern football was committed, because once again the Golden Ball was unfortunately not in the hands of who really deserved it.
I know that many do not agree with me in this particular; rather they praise the Croatian's choice. They say that this is a vindication for football, to show that not only those who score the goals are the important ones. They say that a historical debt has been settled that had the Ballon D'Or for the playmaking midfielders who, according to them, they have snatched several Ballon D'Or during the last decades. The truth is that all these statements are just a lot of stupidities.
Again, I'm not undermining Luka Modric in any way or failing to recognize her talent. The truth is that he is the best midfielder of our generation, an unrepeatable player and fundamental pillar of the modern successes of Real Madrid. But he was simply not by far the best player of the year 2018 and to insist that if he was it is just a bad joke.
The defenders of the Croatian election claim that Modric has more merit than anyone to have taken this award and refer mainly to two things: the UEFA Champions League conquered against Liverpool and the 2018 World Cup Russia. Let's go in pieces, today we will dismantle lies.
Let's start with the Champions. As we all know Real Madrid ended up crowned champion of the Champions for the third consecutive year and for the fourth time in the last 5 years, a milestone never before seen in the modern history of the competition (I'll never tire of saying that). For the history and statistics remains that Modric raised his fourth Champions League with Real Madrid, but we must not forget that this is a trophy that rewards the individual and not the collective. In fact, the same magazine France Football has clarified that the first criterion of choice must be the individual performance of a player over the obtained titles.
And how was the performance of Luka Modric in the last Champions? Discreet, very discreet and normal. The reality is that the Croatian failed to curdle his best performances during European nights. And is that the 13th Champions Real Madrid has two names: Cristiano Ronaldo and luck, good luck. It is indisputable that Modric is the engine of the Merengue team, but while the Portuguese crack was plugged in, Real Madrid managed to overcome the different instances that it faced. No need to remember how Cristiano destroyed PSG and Juve in Turin. But what happened when Cristiano went into a downturn and stopped being decisive? The Real Madrid suffered and much to finish advancing phase thanks to errors of the rival and an undeniable share of luck.
It is at these times when your top star does not save you that The Best, the Ballon D'Or is expected to appear, throw the team on his shoulder with his football and flaunt his best repertoire. But the image I have in mind is a very different, that of a Luka Modric who never appeared in the role of outstanding figure and who had a regular performance like the rest of his teammates. We can not say that Modric deserves the Ballon D'Or more than anyone else when he was not even the best player of his team or of the Champions, honors that belong only to Cristiano Ronaldo.
However, there is still an argument (perhaps the most important one) to analyze: the 2018 World Cup Russia. We all remember that Croatia from the hand of Modric ended up getting the sub-world championship after losing the final against France. All this coupled with the magnificent performance of Modric in Russia made him be awarded as the best player in the World Cup. In this particular I have absolutely nothing to say, Luka Modric was by far the best player in Russia 2018. His performance was simply incredible, sublime, tremendous, a sample of good football.
But there is a problem, we are not awarding the best player in the World Cup; We are awarding the best player of the year 2018. We are not evaluating 1 month, we are evaluating 12 months. This is what happens in World Cup year, it seems that popular opinion is distorted. It is true that the World Cup is the biggest football event in the world; but I find it inconceivable that 1 great month is worth more than 10 months, that 7 parties are worth more than 50.
And what happens when we analyze the full year of Luka Modric? We find that it is far from being the best year of his career in terms of individual performance. Why do you think Real Madrid did not have a good season in La Liga? In large part because Luka Modric did not have a good year. Recall that it has been demonstrated that the good performance of the merengue club have always gone hand in hand with the Croatian performance peaks. When Modric is fine, Real Madrid plays well; when Modric is wrong, Real Madrid suffers. And not to mention the awful start of season that Luka has had, where he has not managed to recover the level to which he has accustomed us. It sounds ugly, but during several stretches of recent months it has become a strange and unrecognizable object within the field of play. We can not reward the Croatian with this distinction when he was not even close to having the best year of his career.
And I know that they will continue to insist on the World Cup, but the reality is that if we can analyze and be objective, the Luka Modric World Cup has not been better than that of some recent World Cup figures that were also distinguished as the best tournament player. For example, although the Modric World Cup was spectacular, it is not at the height of the Ronaldo World Cup in Korea-Japan 2002; or to the Zidane superlative World Cup in Germany 2006; and not to mention the monumental World Championship of Diego Forlán in 2010. Both the French and the Uruguayan had historical returns in those World Cups and most likely had a better performance at the club level, but neither did it reach them to be considered worthy of being crowned as the best of the year. Being the best of the World Cup is not enough.
Again, I want to emphasize that I love Modric; but having given him this Golden Ball was a huge injustice because he simply was not the best of the year. I can mention up to 4 players who had a better 2018 than Luka Modric, but that will be the subject for another day. I say this from the heart, as a Madridista: he does not deserve it. The truth is that many were carried away by the discovery of Modric, because it seems that it is just that everyone is realizing that he is the best midfielder of his generation and that without him it probably would not have been possible this golden age of Real Madrid . But they made a serious mistake, supposedly wanted to do justice to football and ended up staining it.
I wonder myself, would Luka Modric have won the UEFA Best Player Award, FIFA The Best and the Ballon D'Or if Cristiano Ronaldo still played for Real Madrid? Hardly. It must be said that the media campaign against the Portuguese has been brutal and that the white club exerts a powerful influence.
Today I go to bed sad and anguished, because the prize for best player in the world won not the best. Today I see Luka Modric with the Ballon D'Or in his hands and I think: "for this we end with the beautiful duopoly that Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have exercised with an iron hand during the last decade". Undoubtedly, Ballon D'Or wasted.