Luka Modrić - unpretentiously the best

Luka Modrić has been named Best Fifa Footballer of the year. The Real Madrid midfielder and Croatian national team captain dethroned Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, who have shared the honour for the past decade. Commentators - in particular the Croatian ones - are delighted at the distinction and that someone else has won the trophy.

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Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

Triumph of the team player

The decision is great news for football, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes:

“After ten years in which no one stood a chance of winning this honour apart from Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, and the two superstars, flanked by their outfitters, vied for the golden ball with marketing campaigns and media ruckus as if the contest were a private duel, the choice of Modrić is a step back to what's really important, to the essence of football - from the show back to the game. ... The jury comprising the coaches and captains of all the national teams has sent the right message. With Modrić it's not the razzmatazz but the real thing that's being rewarded, not the soloist but the team player.”

Večernji list (HR) /

A life dedicated to football

Luka Modrić has worked his way up to the very top, Večernji list notes with admiration:

“Modrić has shown everyone that a footballer from little Croatia can be the best in the world's most popular sport and that there are no limits. We simply need to believe this and finally make our own sacrifices. His sacrifice was great. He began football training when he was a refugee in Zadar, always the first to arrive at the sessions and the last to leave; as a teenager he wasn't interested in parties because his only goal was to make a career in football. ... Let's forget Modrić's ties to Zdravko Mamić [the football manager who is on the run from an international arrest warrant] or the fact that he was given eight months probation for tax evasion: we take our hats off to him for his football achievements! Because he's the best in the world.”

Novi list (HR) /

Arrogant losers

Messi and Ronaldo have shown poor manners in not attending the ceremony at which Luka Modrić was named best footballer of the year, Novi list writes:

“Two limousines failed to arrive. Two seats remained empty. Two of the best footballers of our era had their clubs make flimsy excuses for their absence. ... Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi did not come to London, after taking home the prize for a decade - during which time they strutted across the stage in their expensive Gucci, Armani and Dolce & Gabbana suits while their team members humbly clapped in the first row. Their pride - and their egos - stopped them from coming. Lionel Messi was at least fair enough to give Luka Modrić first place in the vote. Cristiano Ronaldo couldn't even bring himself to do that.”