MONTE CARLO: Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric, who captained Croatia to runners-up slot at the World Cup, has been hailed as European federation UEFA’s Player of the Year.
The Croatian international collected a total of 313 points, with former Real Madrid club-mate Cristiano Ronaldo (223 points) and Liverpool and Egypt forward Mohamed Salah (134) occupying second and third place respectively.
Pernille Harder was named UEFA Women’s Player of the Year at the ceremonies during the Champions League group stage draw in Monaco.
Modrić, 32, said: “It’s an incredible moment for me and I feel excited and proud to have won this great award. I would like to thank everyone who voted for me to receive the award, my club, Real Madrid, my coaches and my teammates who support me through the highs and lows. This award belongs to them as well.”
The jury for the awards was comprised of the coaches from the 32 clubs, which participated in the group stage of the 2017-18 UEFA Champions League, together with 55 journalists selected by the ESM group. The final result was based on the total number of points from the votes cast by the coaches and journalists.
Keylor Navas (Costa Rica, Real Madrid CF) was crowned Best Goalkeeper of the UEFA Champions League season, amassing a total of 222 points and finishing ahead of Alisson Becker (Brazil, Roma, now at Liverpool) with 197 points, and Gianluigi Buffon (Italy, Juventus, now at Paris Saint-Germain) with 92 points.
Sergio Ramos (Spain, Real Madrid was named Best Defender of the season for a second successive year with a total of 184 points. Raphaël Varane (France, Real Madrid) with 167 points and Marcelo (Brazil, Real Madrid) with 145 points occupied second and third place respectively.
Modrić retained his title as the Best Midfielder with 347 points, while Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium, Manchester City) with 114 points and Toni Kroos (Germany, Real Madrid) with 69 points finished in second and third place respectively.
Ronaldo (Portugal, Real Madrid now at Juventus) was named Best Forward for the second year running claiming a total of 287 points. Mohamed Salah (Egypt, Liverpool FC) came second with 218 points, and Lionel Messi (Argentina, FC Barcelona) was third with 43 points.
Former England captain David Beckham was presented with the President’s award by Aleksander Čeferin for his outstanding career and services to football at both national and club level. Also, the Georgian national team player Guram Kashia received an inaugural award aimed at recognising a player who has acted as a role model in promoting diversity, inclusion and accessibility in European football.
As for Harder, the Wolfsburg and Denmark striker, who played in this season’s UEFA Women’s Champions League final in Kyiv, claimed a total of 106 points. Olympique Lyonnais forward Ada Hegerberg, whose team was victorious in this year’s final in the Ukrainian capital, came second with 61 points, while the Norwegian’s club-mate and France international Amandine Henry was third with 41 points.
The jury was composed of coaches from the 12 highest-ranked teams in the latest UEFA women’s national team rankings, together with the coaches of the eight clubs which participated in the quarter-finals of the 2017/18 UEFA Women’s Champions League. Also on the panel were 20 journalists specialising in women’s football who were selected by the European Sports Media (ESM) group. The final result was based on the total number of points from the votes cast by the coaches and the journalists.############