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Luka Modrić and Ada Hegerberg made history on Monday night at the prestigious Ballon d'Or awards for 2018.

Modrić ended the ten-year reign of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as winners, while Hegerberg won the inaugural women's award. Messi and Ronaldo had won every Ballon d'Or since 2008, and usually fought only each other for the greatest recognition.

Modrić won the Champions League with Real Madrid and then guided Croatia to the World Cup final in July, and was voted player of the tournament. 

"As a kid we all have dreams. My dream was to play for a big club and win important trophies," Modrić said.

"The Ballon d'Or was more than just a dream for me and it is really an honour and a privilege to hold this trophy."

Hegerberg scored in this year's Champions League final as her French side Lyon beat Wolfsburg 4-1 in Kiev. She was one of seven players from Lyon to feature amongst the 15 nominees, and was the leading scorer for Lyon. 

"I want to say thanks to my teammates because this would not have been possible without them, my coach or our president Jean-Michel Aulas," Hegerberg said at the ceremony in Paris.

"I also want to thank France Football. This is a huge step for women's football."

Hegerberg has not played for her national team since 2017 due to what she says is a lack fo respect for women players in Norway. She is unlikely to play in next year's World Cup in France. 

"A lot of things need to be done to make the conditions better for women who play football," Hegerberg told AP before the awards ceremony.

"It's all about how we respect women's football. I don't think the respect has been there. Sometimes you have to take tough decisions to stay true to yourself. I let them know, quite clearly, what I found wasn't working."

Hegerberg received an apology from a Ballon d'Or host, Martin Solveig, after the ceremony for a comment that was considered by many as sexist. Solveig said Hegerberg "understood it was a joke". 

France coach Didier Deschamps said a player from his World Cup winning team should have won the men's award.

"They deserve it because of what they did with the national team at the World Cup and also because of the trophies they won with their clubs," Deschamps said.

The 19-year-old Mbappé — the youngest player to score in a World Cup final — won the Raymond Kopa Trophy awarded to the best young player.

The Ballon d'Or is voted for by journalists, and recognises the best players in the world. It has been awarded to a men's player by France Football every year since 1956, but this is the first year there has been a women's award. The list of nominees is compiled by the editorial staff of French magazine, France Football

Australia's Samantha Kerr was voted fifth, along with Lionel Messi for the men. 

The top 10

#WomenClub / CountryMenClub / Country
1Ada HegerbergLyon / NorwayLuka ModrićReal Madrid / Croatia
2Pernille HarderWolfsburg / DenmarkCristiano RonaldoReal Madrid / Portugal
3Dzsenifer MaroszanLyon / GermanyAntoine GriezmannAltetico Madrid / France
4MartaOrlando / BrazilKylian MbappéPSG / France
5Sam KerrPerth / AustraliaLionel MessiBarcelona / Argentina
6Lucy BronzeLyon / EnglandMohamed SalahLiverpool / Egypt
7Amadine Henry & Wendie RenardLyon / FranceRaphael VaraneReal Madrid / France
8--Eden HazardChelsea / Belgium
9Megan RapinoeSeattle / USAKevin de BruyneManchester City / Belgium
10Lindsay HoranPortland / USAHarry KaneTottenham / England

Categories: News | People | Women | Europe

ballon d'or, samantha kerr, ada hegenberg, luka modrić, france football, kylian mbappe

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