Modric, Ronaldo, Messi & the 2018 Ballon d'Or final rankings

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The Croatia and Real Madrid star becomes the first player other than Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo to win the award since Kaka in 2007

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    29. Isco (Real Madrid)

    The Real Madrid attacker scored seven goals and added seven assists last season, and looked poised to be among the group ready to help the club fill the gap left behind by Cristiano Ronaldo. However, Isco has struggled under new boss Santiago Solari, and has lost his place in the side's starting XI. 
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    29. Hugo Lloris (Tottenham)

    Lloris shrugged off questions over his form heading into the summer with a strong performance in the 2018 World Cup, helping France win their second-ever crown in the competition, and first since 1998. 
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    28. Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid)

    Atletico Madrid's primary captain following the depature of Gabi, Godin picked up silverware last year as he was part of the side that won the Europa League, beating Marseille 3-0. He also played every minute of Uruguay's World Cup campaign, which resulted in a run to the quarter-finals. 
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    25. Mario Mandzukic (Juventus)

    The Juventus striker had a solid campaign with the Serie A champions last season, with five goals and three assists in Serie A, though he's already outpaced that goal number this season with six playing alongside Cristiano Ronaldo. But Mandzukic's highlight of the year no doubt came in the World Cup semi-finals, when his 109th minute winner against England sent Croatia to their very first final in the competition.
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    25. Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid)

    Oblak once again was an important piece in a stout Atletico Madrid defence, which conceded the fewest goals in La Liga during the 2017-18 season and have conceded the fewest thus far this season. He also picked up silverware with a Europa League victory, capped with a clean sheet in final in a 3-0 win over Marseille. 
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    25. Alisson Becker (Liverpool)

    The former Roma goalkeeper made a name for himself in Serie A last season, and proved a key piece in his club's run to the Champions League semi-finals, where they were ousted by Liverpool. The Reds thought well enough of Alisson to make him the most expensive goalkeeper in the world, until Chelsea broke the record for Kepa Arrizabalaga a short while after, and he has repaid that faith as Liverpool have conceded the fewest goals in the Premier League so far. Alisson also was in the net for Brazil's run to the quarter-finals of the World Cup. 
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    22. Edinson Cavani (Paris Saint-Germain)

    The striker enjoyed another dominant campaign with Paris Saint-Germain last season with 28 goals and six assists for the Ligue 1 champions, while adding another seven strikes in the Champions League. Cavani also delivered a brilliant performance in the round of 16 in Russia, scoring twice for Uruguay in a 2-1 win over Portugal. Unfortunately, injury in that triumph saw him miss out on Uruguay's quarter-final date with France, where he was sorely missed in a 2-0 defeat. 
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    22. Marcelo (Real Madrid)

    Marcelo's two goals and six assists in La Liga were nice, but his three goals and four assists in the Champions League were arguably more important. He delivered a pair of assists in the final against Liverpool, including the cross that Gareth Bale's memorable bicycle kick slotted home help to seal Real Madrid's third straight continental crown. 

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    22. Sadio Mane (Liverpool)

    Part of Liverpool's dynamic trio with Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, Mane scored 10 goals and added seven assists in the Premier League last year. In Europe, Mane was even more influential, scoring 10 goals in 11 games as he helped the Reds make the Champions League final. He also found the back of the net once for Senegal in the 2018 World Cup. 
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    19. Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)

    Another year, another Champions League crown for the Real Madrid captain, who made it three straight with the club's victory over Liverpool in Kiev last May. He's already scored four goals and added an assist this season for the club in La Liga.
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    19. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)

    The 27-year-old forward scored 15 goals and added seven assists last season in the Premier League, chipping in 10 more goals and seven additional assists in Liverpool's run to the Champions League final. Firmino also scored a goal despite not receiving a start for Brazil in Russia. 
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    19. Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona)

    Perhaps the less heralded of the two big names in Croatia's midfield, Rakitic's 2018 was no less successful when it came to silverware than Luka Modric's. Rakitic snagged another La Liga crown with Barcelona, as well as the Copa del Rey. Of course, he teamed with Modric in the midfield to help Croatia to their first World Cup final, scoring once in the competition.
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    17. Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)

    While his 2017-18 La Liga campaign was not his best, Benzema was influential in the Champions League, scoring five times in just eight games. His most famous goal of the lot was in the final, when he pressured Loris Karius into an error to score the opener for Real Madrid and send them on their way to their third straight continental crown. 
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    17. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid)

    While not his best campaign with Real Madrid last season, Bale still scored 16 goals for the club in just 26 games (20 starts). But his moment to shine came in Kiev, when his stunning bicycle kick finish against Liverpool put the club up 2-1 in the final. He scored an insurance goal for good measure, proving the key man in his club's third straight Champions League triumph.
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    16. Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)

    Aguero played in just 25 Premier League games last year and started 22 of those. It didn't stop his production though, as he scored 21 times and added six assists for Manchester City as they become the Premier League's first centurions, with 100 points in their title-winning season. Aguero also found the net twice for Argentina during the World Cup this past summer.
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    15. Paul Pogba (Manchester United)

    Subject to plenty of criticism at the club level, Pogba no doubt remains one of Manchester United's top players, scoring six times and chipping in 10 assists last season and has three goals and three assists so far in 2018-19. Meanwhile, he was among the most important players for France in Russia, and scored once, as they won their second-ever World Cup.
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    14. Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid)

    The former Chelsea goalkeeper took home one last bit of silverware with the Blues as they emerged victorious in the FA Cup at the close of last season. But he stood out for Belgium in Russia, proving especially key in their quarter-finals victory over Brazil, en route to a third-place finish at the World Cup. Courtois then made his return to the Spanish capital, this time with Real Madrid, ahead of the close of the summer transfer window.
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    13. Luis Suarez (Barcelona)

    Perhaps overshadowed a bit by Lionel Messi at Barcelona, Suarez remains a force in front of goal, scoring 25 times in La Liga last season, and has tallied nine strikes in 13 league games this season. And while his World Cup in Russia may have had a little less bite to it than his one in Brazil, he still scored twice for Uruguay as the nation made it to the quarter-finals. 
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    12. Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain)

    While he may come in for criticism for his reactions to contact both internationally and at the club level, there's no denying the production Neymar brings to the table. He had 19 goals and 13 assists in an abbreviated debut campaign for Paris Saint-Germain, while adding six goals and three assists in the Champions League. This season, he has 15 goals and five assists in those two competitions. He also scored twice for Brazil in Russia before their quarter-final exit from the World Cup. 
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    11. N'Golo Kante (Chelsea)

    One of the most influential midfielders in the world, Kante picked up silverware with Chelsea in May, winning the FA Cup. That proved only an appetiser for Kante, who would start all seven of France's games in Russia, en route to their 2018 World Cup crown.
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    10. Harry Kane (Tottenham)

    Over the last few years, Kane has staked a claim as one of the world's most productive strikers. He followed up a 29-goal campaign in the Premier League two years ago by scoring 30 last season for Tottenham, and already has found the net eight times in 14 games this season. Kane was also the top scorer in Russia, taking home the Golden Boot with six goals for England.
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    9. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

    One of the world's best playmakers, De Bruyne was at it again last year for Manchester City. His 16 assists led the Premier League, and he also added eight goals for good measure as City won the league with a record-breaking 100 points. Then in Russia, he started six of Belgium's matches, scoring a goal and adding two assists as the Red Devils finished third at the 2018 World Cup.
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    8. Eden Hazard (Chelsea)

    Though the man himself downplayed his Ballon d'Or chances, Hazard enjoyed a fruitful 2018. While Chelsea's disappointing Premier League season may have mitigated his enjoyment, it did end in silverware with an FA Cup triumph. Then at the World Cup, Hazard's three goals and two assists were key in Belgium's third-place finish. And Hazard is off to a flying start under new Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri, having scored seven goals and added five assists in just 13 Premier League games to this point.
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    7. Raphael Varane (Real Madrid)

    While he may not be as infamous as his Real Madrid centre-back partner Sergio Ramos, Varane enjoyed an even better season when it came to trophies. Like his Madrid team-mates, he came away with yet another Champions League crown in May. Then in Russia, he started all seven of France's matches en route to their second-ever World Cup triumph, scoring the winner in the quarter-final victory over Uruguay.
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    6. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)

    In his first season at Liverpool, Salah proved a record-breaker, shattering the Premier League mark for goals in a 38-game season with 32 tallies, while chipping in 10 assists. He added another 10 goals for the Reds as they marched to the Champions League final, where his shoulder injury that forced him off in the first half left him sorely missed by the eventual runners-up. While that same injury led to disappointment for Salah and Egypt at the World Cup, the forward still scored twice in two games for his nation. 
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    5. Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

    Ernesto Valverde questioned how his star man could have missed out on the top-three, and he might have a point. Messi tallied 40 goals and 14 assists last season for Barcelona between La Liga and the Champions League. He won two bits of silverware, with La Liga and the Copa del Rey. He already has 15 goals and eight assists between La Liga and the Champions League this season. Snub or not, it marks the first time since 2008 that Messi has not finished first or second and the first since 2007 he has not been in the top three. 
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    4. Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)

    The 2018 Trophee Kopa winner, the teenage sensation (he does not turn 20 until December 20) perhaps had a strong argument for taking home top honours with the Ballon d'Or as well. Mbappe's club exploits have already seen him score 12 times in Ligue 1 for Paris Saint-Germain and add another two goals in Europe. That comes on the heels of scoring 13 goals and adding eight assists in the league last season. And of course, he was among the star men in Russia, scoring four goals in seven appearances for his nation at the 2018 World Cup, matching heights of Pele, and helping France to their second-ever World Cup trophy. 
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    3. Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid)

    The forward turned heads earlier this year when he claimed to be at the level of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, but with his second top-three finish in the Ballon d'Or in three years, perhaps Griezmann has a point. Griezmann scored 19 goals and added nine assists for Atletico Madrid in La Liga last year and proved instrumental in their Europa League triumph with his goal for his 10-man side against Arsenal in the semi-final to snatch a result at the Emirates. And then in the summer, Griezmann scored four goals and added a pair of assists as he helped lead France to 2018 World Cup glory in Russia. 
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    2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)

    At the end of 2017 there was talk of Ronaldo slowing down. By the end of the season, the superstar attacker scored 41 times between La Liga and the Champions League, delivered one of the best goals of the year in the quarter-final tie with Juventus and helped his club to their third straight continental crown. He would then score a memorable goal for Portugal to snatch a late result against Spain in the World Cup, and has continued to find success since his move to Juventus, scoring 10 goals and adding five assists thus far in Serie A. 
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    1. Luka Modric (Real Madrid)

    For over a decade, the Ballon d'Or has been the Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo show. No more. For the first time since Kaka in 2007, someone else has won the award, and that someone is Luka Modric. The Real Madrid star made it three straight Champions League titles in May and staked a claim to being the best midfielder in the world in the process. He perhaps ended debate in Russia, where he led Croatia to the 2018 World Cup final and won the Golden Ball for the tournament's best player. Since then, he's taken home the 2018 UEFA Men's Player of the Year award, was named FIFA Best Men's Player for 2018 and now he has officially broken the Messi-Ronaldo hold on the Ballon d'Or.