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Ballon d'Or live: Modric beats Ronaldo and Messi to win best player award

Goal brings you all the updates as Modric beat out Ronaldo and Messi to be crowned this year's Ballon d'Or winner

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That's all, folks!

2018-12-03T21:59:56Z

We're signing off on the Ballon d'Or liveblog. Thanks for following us along on the journey, and see you in a year, where all the fun will recommence...

Congrats, Luka! 👏

Some disappointment from Griezmann and Mbappe after not being named winners?

2018-12-03T21:55:49Z

"No, it's with great pride to be on the podium, and to be a world champion," said the Atletico forward.

"I'm counting on my teammates in the club and the national team to be in Luka's place in the future. [But] I won a Europa League, a World Cup, what else do I have to do I do [to be crowned Ballon d'Or winner]? I do not know."

Said Mbappe: "A disappointement? Well, from where I come from, it's no problem. In the short time since I arrived, I finished in 7th and 4th place. The three players who finished in front of me deserved it more than I did. 

"I have to work to be in this place in the future."

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Will we ever again see an African Ballon d'Or winner like George Weah?

2018-12-03T21:45:54Z

There has not been one African player on the Ballon d'Or podium since Weah won in 1995 – but what chances do Africa's best talents stand in the future? Goal takes a look.

You can read the full story on Goal HERE.

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Has Modric ended Ronaldo & Messi's Ballon d'Or duopoly - or merely interrupted it?

2018-12-03T21:35:08Z

Goal takes a look at whether or not Modric's Ballon d'Or win has put a permanent stop to the two-horse race that was Messi and Ronaldo – or if this is just a one-off, outlier year.

Read the full story on Goal HERE.

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Modric becomes the first non-Messi or Ronaldo player in 10 years to win Ballon d'Or 👏

2018-12-03T21:20:00Z

And the duopoly has been broken, the curse lifted!

"I would like to give thanks to my teammates and coaches at Real Madrid and Croatia," said Modric in his speech. 

"To all those who voted for me, and my family. My wife and kids are fulfilling me as a person and preparing me in all aspects to succeed as a professional."

READ THE FULL STORY HERE!

"As a kid, my dream was to play for a big club and win trophies. Ballon d'Or was more than a childhood dream for me – and I'm truly honoured and privileged to win this trophy tonight."

🏆Modric wins Ballon d'Or!

2018-12-03T21:18:35Z

It's been an incredible year for the Croatia and Real Madrid midfielder, who won the Champions League and finished as finalists in the Russia World Cup.

"It's a unique feeling. I'm happy, proud and honoured," Modric said in his acceptance speech.

"The emotions I feel right now are hard to describe, but I would like to thank everyone who has allowed me to be here tonight."

READ THE FULL STORY HERE!

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HERE WE GO!!! 🏎

2018-12-03T21:14:04Z

Ballon d'Or winner announcement imminent... ⏰

🏆TOP FOUR: Griezmann, Mbappe, Modric & Ronaldo!

2018-12-03T21:05:07Z

It's the final home stretch as we do the final countdown!

🇫🇷Griezmann

🇫🇷Mbappe

🇭🇷Modric

🇵🇹Ronaldo

*Plays Europe song on blast* 🎶

Allez Les Bleus > Football's Coming Home

2018-12-03T20:56:24Z

Is there even any competition? 🇫🇷

(No.)

France Football

🏆Ada Hegerberg wins Women's Ballon d'Or!

2018-12-03T20:43:45Z

Norway and Lyon star Ada Hegerberg is the first female footballer to be awarded the first ever women's Ballon d'Or award – what an incredible feat! 👏

"This is the most important thing for women's football, and together we will make a difference," Hegerberg said in her speech.

"I would like to send a message to young girls all over the world – please believe in yourself."

READ THE FULL STORY ON GOAL HERE!

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🏆#7, #6, #5: Raphael Varane, Mohamed Salah & Lionel Messi!

2018-12-03T20:39:28Z

We're getting close to the final countdown, and it's the first time since 2006 that Messi has finished outside of the top three.

READ THE FULL STORY ON GOAL HERE!

Mbappe: "It is a great honour"

2018-12-03T20:31:28Z

After accepting the inaugural Kopa trophy award, the PSG and France forward outlined his gratitude:

"Good evening everyone. It is a great honour to be among you. I see lots of big names in football," the 19-year-old said. 

"I am very happy to receive this award. This rewards a great year, which I realized thanks to all my teammates in club and national team. I will never forget the adventure of the World Cup.

"It's a good time to thank them, and it's an extra motivation to keep working.

"My next goal? It is to lift everything (not only Ballon D'Or). It will be with hard work and help from my teammates."

🏆#10, #9, #8: Harry Kane, Kevin De Bruyne & Eden Hazard!

2018-12-03T20:26:16Z

It's an all-Premier League trio for the first three of the top 10 countdowns.

Mbappe scoops Kopa trophy with 55% of votes 👏

2018-12-03T20:21:46Z

🏆 Mbappe wins Kopa trophy!

2018-12-03T20:17:06Z

The France and PSG superstar has been named the winner of the inaugural Kopa award awarded to the standout young player of the year, beating out the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Christian Pulisic.

READ THE FULL STORY ON GOAL!

 

Counting down the top 10...

2018-12-03T20:11:56Z

We're not quite sure what was happening. There was a bit of DJing and random bits of music playing and Griezmann and Modric looking confused. But they are doing a dramatic montage of the top 10 nominees, so stay tuned!

AND THE CEREMONY HAS (FINALLY) KICKED OFF!!!

2018-12-03T20:06:41Z

In supreme spectacular fashion, with some snazzy dancing set to Michael Jackson tunes.

(No Noel Gallagher in sight. Phew.)

Follow the stream here!

Buffon has his say! 🇮🇹

2018-12-03T20:02:27Z

Buffon gave Goal his thoughts about women footballers finally being recognised with the top honour: "It's fair to award the Ballon d'Or to women. Because it's still football. For me, it's normal. It's not a strange thing.

"I don't know who will win. But the top three favorites deserve it all because they had a great season with their clubs and national teams. It's possible to see Modric win."

Watch Goal's Modric documentary – chronicling how he fled his childhood home as a refugee to becoming a world-beating footballer.

2018-12-03T19:58:08Z

Young Roma ace Kluivert gives his Ballon d'Or picks

2018-12-03T19:51:45Z

Goal's PSG correspondent Sabrina Belalmi is at the ceremony tonight, and spoke exclusively to former Ajax winger Justin Kluivert.

"I feel very thankful, for sure. It's a great honour to be here. I've been nominated with a lot of good players. It's a pleasure!" Kluivert said.

When asked who he thought would be named the winner, the 19-year-old quipped: "You have a lot of great players, but everybody who is nominated had a great season – but I think they'll give it to Croatia after his great summer in the World Cup. 

"Maybe [Raphael] Varane. Maybe [Kylian] Mbappe, but he's nominated for the Young Player award! I'm curious as to see who will win."

He continued: "I'm excited to be playing a lot more games with Roma. I thought maybe it was a good decision [to leave Ajax] but I'm very happy to be here – the trianing, the games. I feel like I'm learning more, every day.

"I'm very happy to have the name 'Kluivert'."

Modric enters the scene! 🌟

2018-12-03T19:39:47Z

Here's the Croatia captain making his way to the Ballon d'Or red carpet... accompanied by his tiny Modric clan! 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦

We all dream of a team of Modric-ers. Real Modric. Hala Modric.

11 years on from the Messi/Ronaldo Ballon d'Or duopoly...

2018-12-03T19:33:28Z

Sorry not sorry to keep hammering on about it, but this was the state of Messi's hair when Kaka won the award in 2007!

Other notable things that have happened in the world since a non-Messi/Ronaldo player was named Ballon d'Or winner: Spice Girls announced a reunion tour, Real Madrid won three Champions League trophies in a row, Fernando Torres hippity-hopped from Liverpool to Chelsea to Milan to Atletico to Sagan Tosu, and Robbie Williams and Gary Barlow made amends.

Kylian Mbappe probably wasn't even born yet.

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🎈Ballon d'Or favourites countdown: Luka Modric

2018-12-03T19:27:04Z

And finally, we outline why Modric is the favourite to win the Ballon d'Or tonight.

After an instrumental role in Real Madrid's Champions League success last season as well as having captained his Croatia team to the finals of the World Cup in Russia, Modric is set to be named the first Ballon d'Or winner in 10 years who isn't Messi or Ronaldo.

Much like Moses and the parting of the Red Sea, the Croatia midfielder is set to split the deadlock of the Messi & Ronaldo duopoly following a remarkable year.

🇭🇷Modric won the ‘Best FIFA Men's Player’ award in September – ahead of Messi and Ronaldo.

🇭🇷The midfielder also also won the World Cup Golden Ball award – the first player from Croatia to win.

🇭🇷Modric completed the most passes (422) & created the most goalscoring chances (18) for Croatia in Russia this summer.

🇭🇷He was the midfielder with the most passes attempted (484), most touches (624) and most recoveries (56) at 2018 World Cup.

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The prodigal youngster has arrived! 🙏

2018-12-03T19:19:20Z

Mbappe, Mbappe... Ba du bop, ba duba dop... Ba du, yeah-e-yeah!

(Sorry.)

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Liverpool and Brazil shot-stopper Alisson hits the red carpet!

2018-12-03T19:14:01Z

His heroics during yesterday's Merseyside Derby alone should be enough to land him the top spot... right? 🙌

🎈Ballon d'Or favourites countdown: Cristiano Ronaldo

2018-12-03T19:08:11Z

The Portugal international has had an amazing year, but even his achievements haven't been enough to place him in front of former teammate Modric for the award this evening.

The 33-year-old is the most recent Ballon d'Or winner, but don't expect him to be in attendance tonight...

🇵🇹Ronaldo has already scored 45 goals in 47 games so far in 2018 for club and country.

🇵🇹This summer, he became the fourth player to score in four different World Cups (2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018) after Pele, Uwe Seeler and Miroslav Klose.

🇵🇹With his hat-trick vs Spain in Russia, Ronaldo became the oldest hat-trick scorer in World Cup history at 33 years and 130 days.

🇵🇹In April, Ronaldo broke the record for scoring in the most consecutive Champions League appearances - finding the net in 11 matches in a row, starting with the 2017 final against Juventus.

🇵🇹He won his 5th Champions League with Real Madrid in May – making him the player with the most CL wins.

Gabriele Maltinti

World Cup '98 veterans hit the red carpet! 🇫🇷

2018-12-03T18:54:32Z

Here are Laurent Blanc and Alain Boghossian looking dapper... 

🎈Ballon d'Or favourites countdown: Lionel Messi

2018-12-03T18:43:27Z

The Barcelona star had an amazing year, but still isn't a favourite to win the top prize tonight...

Both Messi and Ronaldo are at five Ballon d'Ors apiece, but his excellent year at club level but mediocre level at country level has made him an outside favourite to scoop the award.

Nevertheless, here's just a slice of what makes him the ultimate GOAT...

🐐At 41 goals, no player within the top 5 European Leagues has scored as many goals in all competitions as Messi in 2018

🐐The Argentine has been involved in 41 league goals so far in 2018 (28 goals, 13 assists); more than any other player in the top five leagues. o Lionel

🐐Messi became the second to score 💯 Champions League goals (after Cristiano Ronaldo) when he scored against Chelsea in March.

🐐With two assists at the World Cup, Messi is the only player to deliver an assist in each of the last four World Cups.

France Football announce Kante at #11

2018-12-03T18:40:10Z

Not long until the top 10 finalists! 👏

🎈Ballon d'Or favourites countdown: Antoine Griezmann

2018-12-03T18:17:16Z

Easy, Griezy... the Atletico Madrid forward led his team to victory in the Europa League and won the World Cup with Les Bleus.

🤙 Griezmann has been involved in 44 goals in all competitions in the opening 11 months of 2018 (29 goals, 15 assists – more than any other French player.

🤙The France international became the first World Cup winner to be involved in at least one goal in the each knockout phase since 1986.

🤙 The forward was the first to score both in two major finals in the same year since Jorge Valdano did so for Argentina in 1986.

🤙Despite a month of 2018 still remaining, Griezmann has already equalled his best-ever year in goal involvements: he’s been involved in 28 league goals so far in 2018 (17 goals, 11 assists) which equals his 2015 best (25 goals, 3 assists).

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France Football announce #15, #14 and #13 finishers

2018-12-03T18:08:14Z

Paul Pogba has been named #15 on the list, while La Liga duo Thibaut Courtois and Luis Suarez are the latest to be ranked at #14 and #13 respectively!

Only true '90s kids remember a non-Messi/ Ronaldo Ballon d'Or winner.

2018-12-03T18:05:54Z

Today marks approximately 11 years since former Brazil ace Kaka was named winner of the Ballon d'Or during his time at Milan, during a season that he won the Champions League and the UEFA Cup.

 

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🎈Ballon d'Or favourites countdown: Eden Hazard

2018-12-03T17:57:16Z

The Belgian has been so fruitful for his side this year that he's caught the attention of Real Madrid.

Having been instrumental in Belgium's third-placed finish in the World Cup, Hazard is a top 10 finalist for the Ballon d'Or award this evening. We've rounded up some tidbits as to why:

🇧🇪The Chelsea and Belgian ace had a hand in five goals at this summer's World Cup (three goals, two assists) – and no Belgium player has been involved in more goals at a single World Cup since 1966.

🇧🇪Hazard has managed to beat an opponent with 124 dribbles in league football so far in 2018 – the most in the Premier League.

🇧🇪He created 75 goalscoring chances from open play so far in 2018 – the most in the PL.

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France Football release #19, #17 and #16 rankings

2018-12-03T17:48:29Z

Nominee rankings are all coming up Milhouse now – with FF having just announced the latest rankings in the countdown for the top spot.

Roberto Frimino, Ivan Rakitic and Sergio Ramos have all been ranked at #19, and Real Madrid duo Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale seal #17. Manchester City star Sergio Aguero tops it all off at #16!

Will the Messi/ Ronaldo duopoly be broken this evening?

2018-12-03T17:43:02Z

We're set to make history tonight with a non-Messi or Ronaldo player set to be named Ballon d'Or winner. If you need context, there are children aged 10 who have not known a life without a Messi/ Ronaldo Ballon d'Or winner. 

With Modric set to break the c̶u̶r̶s̶e̶   trend, we've outlined some of the most interesting facts about this year's crop of nominees.

🎈Ballon d'Or favourites countdown: Raphael Varane

2018-12-03T17:33:23Z

He's not someone you'd immediately think of when it comes to star footballers, but the France international has been vital for both club & country.

Winning the Champions League and the World Cup in one year – surely you've got to be the common denominator?

🇫🇷Varane was the only player to have played all of France’s 630 minutes during their World Cup victory!

🇫🇷Additionally, no player made more clearances than Varane this summer in Russia.

🇫🇷He become just the fourth player in history to win the World Cup & the Champions League in the same season after Christian Karembeu in 1998 (France & Real Madrid), Roberto Carlos in 2002 (Brazil & Real Madrid) & Sami Khedira in 2014 (Germany & Real Madrid). 

🇫🇷He won his fourth Champions League title in 2018 - and no French player has won more.

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🎈Ballon d'Or favourites countdown: Kylian Mbappe

2018-12-03T17:17:36Z

At 19 years old, the young France international has already achieved more than you probably ever will in five lifetimes.

Already a World Cup and Golden Boy winner before he's even hit 20, Mbappe has been integral for both club and country:

✅With 11 strikes, Mbappe scored goals from a French player in a single year since Henry in 2003.

✅The youngster was the ever to score 10 goals for France before turning 20.

✅His strike against Croatia made him the youngest player ever to score in a World Cup final.

✅ Not to mention that he's been involved in 21 goals in 23 Ligue 1 appearances so far in 2018!

❓How does the Ballon d'Or voting get decided?

2018-12-03T17:09:21Z

Voting, shortlists, ranking – there is a lot that goes into deciding who gets crowned the best player in the world.

We've prepared a handy piece that details what exactly goes on in the voting selection process, including who gets to submit a vote, how players and candidates get determined, what goes into ranking and more.

🎈Ballon d'Or favourites countdown: Mohamed Salah

2018-12-03T16:53:30Z

We'll be whittling down the 30-man longlist to the top 10 favourites to scoop up the award this evening, starting with Liverpool and Egypt star Salah.

The 25-year-old hit the ground running at Anfield in his debut season with the Reds, and has already earned himself status as a Kop Idol. Here are some of the best stats & facts about the forward!

🏆He finished last season as the Golden Boot winner on 32 goals – a 38-game Premier League record.

🏆At 44 goals, Mo's tally in his debut season for Liverpool than any other player in their entire history.

🏆Mo netted against 17 different Premier League opponents last season – and no player has ever scored against more in a single campaign.

🏆Against Watford earlier this March, Mo netted four goals from four shots – and is only the second player since Andrey Arshavin in 2003-04 to have achieved such a feat.

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France Football release first rankings at #29 and #28

2018-12-03T16:42:40Z

France Football have now begun their Ballon d'Or countdown of their 30-man shortlist and have revealed the first names – Real Madrid's Isco and Tottenham's Hugo Lloris – are both tied at #29.

Diego Godin for Atletico Madrid follows not long after at #28.

Three down, 27 to go...

🌟How can I watch the Ballon d'Or ceremony?

2018-12-03T16:31:09Z

The ceremony for this year's Ballon d'Or will take place in Paris, and will be hosted by former France international David Ginola.

Proceedings aren't due to take place for another couple of hours, however, with the winner expected to be announced sometime after 7pm GMT.

It's pretty nailed-on that Modric will win... so will we see Ronaldo during the ceremony? Probably not, if he's been snubbed... 👀

The ceremony will not be televised, but you can livestream it through the France Football website here.

🏅Ballon d'Or full shortlist

2018-12-03T16:25:13Z

Sure, Luka Modric may be the odds-on favourite to be named winner tonight, but here's the shortlist in full...

Sergio Aguero (Man City), Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Alisson Becker (Liverpool), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Edinson Cavani (PSG), Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus), Kevin De Bruyne (Man City), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Isco (Real Madrid), Harry Kane (Tottenham), N'Golo Kante (Chelsea), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Mario Mandzukic (Juventus), Sadio Mane (Liverpool), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Kylian Mbappe (PSG), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Neymar (PSG), Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Luis Suarez (Barcelona), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid)

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Who is your pick to win the Ballon d'Or?

2018-12-03T16:17:20Z

Straightforward question – who do you think will come out top tonight? Head over to our Twitter page and cast your vote:

Ballon d'Or favourites, underdogs and outsiders

2018-12-03T16:10:11Z

Need a refresher on who's an early frontrunner to scoop up the Ballon d'Or this year? There seems to be a pretty unanimous vote on who it'll be...

Why not take a gander at our ranked list of who we expect is going to come out top this year (spoiler alert: it is not James Milner) as well as the latest odds.

🏁Welcome to Goal's Ballon d'Or live blog coverage!

2018-12-03T16:00:04Z

Good afternoon, and welcome to Goal's live blog of the Ballon d'Or ceremony.

We'll bring you the latest updates, news and everything you need to know around the event taking place this evening.

This edition of the Ballon d'Or is special as it is set to be the first time in 10 years that neither Cristiano Ronaldo nor Lionel Messi are favourites to win the award. Thank Fowler! A new dawn, and a new era is set to start in football.

Stay tuned!