Luka Modric wins Ballon d’Or: The Real Madrid midfielder talks about the moment Zinedine Zidane told him he could win the award.
Luka Modric won the Ballon d’Or for the first time in his career last night. The Real Madrid midfielder ended a 10-year streak of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the award. In 2007, Ricardo Kaka was the last player not named Messi or Ronaldo to win the award.
The Croatian star previously won the FIFA Best Player of the Year award, as well as the UEFA Player of the Year title. Modric played a crucial role in Real Madrid’s third consecutive Champions League title, and led Croatia to their first ever World Cup final in Russia this summer.
While Cristiano Ronaldo stood second, Atletico Madrid star and World Cup winner Antoine Griezmann came third. Lionel Messi, however, dropped to 5th in the Ballon d’Or final list.
Modric has now revealed the moment when Real Madrid’s former coach, Zinedine Zidane told him that he could win the award.
Luka Modric wins Ballon d’Or:
Luka Modric stated that Zidane foreshadowed about him winning the Ballon d’Or award, weeks after he arrived at Real Madrid
“There wasn’t a specific moment where he told me: You can win it,” Modric began.
“When I recounted all of the individual trophies that I’ve won this year and when I saw that I was among the 30 finalists, I began to believe it, but there’s one thing I’ll never forget.”
Modric: “I’ll never forget when Zizou became Real Madrid’s manager in 2016, he called me in & told me what he expected from me, above all he saw me as a player who could win the Balón d’Or. When someone like Zidane tells you this, your morale goes up the roof.” [france football] pic.twitter.com/etJdGRDQIq
— SB (@Realmadridplace) December 4, 2018
The midfield superstar said that Zidane called him to his office after joining as coach in 2016, and told him that he could win the award.
“When Zidane became Madrid coach in January 2016, he called me to his office one day after training and told me how he saw me as a player and what he expected of me.
“He told me that I was an important player for him and, above all, that he saw me as a player who could win the Ballon d’Or.”
Luka Modric: “When someone like Zidane w/ all his personality & history tells you that, it boosts confidence. I admired him & respected him enormously as a player. He saw me as someone like himself, quiet & a bit shy. He expected me to express myself more on the pitch to open up”
— RMadridHome (@RMadridHome_) December 4, 2018
Modric insisted that it boosted his confidence, and believed that Zidane saw a bit of himself in him.
“When someone like Zidane, with all of his personality and history, tells you that, it boosts your confidence.
“I admired him and respected him enormously as a player, he saw me as someone like himself, quiet and a bit shy, he expected me to express myself more on the pitch, to open up.
“He needed me to be a key part of the team in an era when we were truly playing well. Those words from Zidane helped me to go further in my play.
“Even in spite of his words, I didn’t begin to believe it.”