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Luka Modric wins World Cup Golden Ball

His team came up short in the final, but Luka Modric deserved this award.

France v Croatia - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Final Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Despite a devastating loss in the World Cup final, Luka Modric has won the Golden Ball as the best player at the 2018 World Cup, and deservedly so.

He finished the World Cup with two goals and one assist, but those stats hardly tell the entire story. He did everything for Croatia in the center of the pitch during their run to the final, from dirty defensive work to carrying the ball forward when no one else could.

Because it’s not flashy, Modric’s work for Croatia and Real Madrid has often gone under-appreciated. But without a big-name attacking player dominating this World Cup and Croatia exceeding expectations, more fans and media took notice of the diminutive playmaker’s contributions.

Though it didn’t hurt that he scored this goal.

Six months after his arrival at Real Madrid, he was voted as the worst singing in Real Madrid’s history in a poll by pro-Madrid newspaper MARCA. Now, he’s won four Champions League titles, made the FIFPro World XI three times, and won a World Cup Golden Ball. Not bad.