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Modric tipped to pip French stars to Ballon d'Or and end Ronaldo and Messi era

AFP  |  Paris 

The winner of the 2018 will be revealed at a glittering ceremony in on Monday evening, with Croatia's and a host of French winners all hoping to finally end the 10-year duopoly of and

and Messi have dominated the award for the last decade, claiming it five times each, but the expectation is that a new name will be read out as this year's winner at just after 10pm (2100 GMT) at the Grand Palais, just off the Champs-Elysees.

While won another with Real Madrid in a typically prolific year, and Messi continues to mesmerise for Barcelona, both are now in their 30s and neither really stamped their authority on in

That could be crucial. As said recently: "You could give the to half the team for what they did at "

Six members of the side that triumphed in are among the 30 nominees for the award, which is organised by Football magazine and voted for by 180 journalists from around the world.

Among them are Saint-Germain's dazzling teenage forward Kylian Mbappe, Atletico Madrid striker and Madrid's Champions League-winning defender Hugo Lloris, and N'Golo Kante are also in the running.

The last Frenchman to win the was in 1998, on the back of France's World Cup victory on home soil that year.

- New women's award -


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But perhaps the lack of one standout French candidate has cleared the path for Modric, who heroically helped drag his country to final before being beaten by France in

The 33-year-old was also brilliant in the Real side that retained their crown for the second year running, and the Spanish club would love to see him succeed 2016 and 2017 winner Ronaldo, who has since left the Bernabeu for Juventus.

Club influences aside, Modric would be a worthy winner, even if he lacks the incredible statistics of Ronaldo and Messi.

Recent evidence also goes in favour of the little playmaker, who won the Golden Ball for the best at the World Cup before claiming UEFA's prize for of the season and FIFA's best award in September, beating and Ronaldo to the latter.

"Modric is an exceptional player. He has shown that throughout his career, not just at Real but also at his former clubs and with his country," said Real of a player who grew up during Croatia's independence war.

"He must have grown up in a very hard context and I wonder if that helped him to have the character he has." With Modric emerging as the most likely winner, France was even asked this weekend if his country's World Cup triumph could be somehow devalued by the lack of a Ballon d'Or to go alongside it.

"I don't want to get into that debate. I don't vote. I just hope it is a Frenchman. Whoever wins it will deserve too," he said.

In any case, the gala -- which will be presented by a former France player in David Ginola -- will include a prize for the best player aged under 21, the Kopa Trophy. Mbappe, who turns 20 later this month, seems a certain winner of that award, voted for by 33 living former Ballon d'Or winners.

There is also now a women's Ballon d'Or prize, voted for by 45 journalists. The 15 nominees include seven players from Lyon, the winners, and great Marta, who won the recent prize.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, December 03 2018. 09:20 IST
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