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Luka Modric ended a decade of dominance by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the Ballon d’Or but the Croatian’s win was overshadowed when the inaugural winner of the women’s award Ada Hegerberg was asked to perform a twerk live on stage by the host DJ Martin Solveig. Ballon d’Or 2018: Luka Modric and Ada…
Luka Modric ended a decade of dominance by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the Ballon d’Or but the Croatian’s win was overshadowed when the inaugural winner of the women’s award Ada Hegerberg was asked to perform a twerk live on stage by the host DJ Martin Solveig.
Hegerberg, who scored in this year’s Champions League final and also helped Lyon win the French title, pipped Denmark’s striker Pernille Harder into second place but appeared embarrassed when asked by the main host David Ginola and French house DJ Solveig if she wanted to perform the sexually provocative dance in celebration. The 23-year-old said “no” and seemed to attempt to leave the stage before reluctantly agreeing to dance to another song with Ginola.
She later admitted she was extremely proud to be named the first female winner. “It’s incredible,” Hegerberg said. “This is a great motivation to continue working hard and we will continue to work together to win more titles. I wanted to end with some words for young girls around the world: believe in yourselves.”
In a year that has seen Modric win a third successive Champions League title and inspire his country to reach the World Cup final, there are few who will begrudge his victory, with Ronaldo finishing in second place and his erstwhile rival Messi down in fifth behind the French duo Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappé – the first time since 2006 that the Argentina forward has not finished in the top three.
There had been a clue that there would be a new winner in the 63rd edition of this award – Blackpool’s Stanley Matthews was the first in 1956 – when neither Ronaldo nor Messi were present at the Grand Palais in Paris, although in typically humble fashion Modric admitted he had been pleasantly surprised to be recognised after being congratulated on his victory by Croatia president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic.
Having become the first teenager to score in the World Cup final since Pele in 1958 as France won their second title in Russia, Paris Saint-Germain’s forward Mbappé was the runaway winner of the inaugural Kopa Trophy for the best player under the age of 21 ahead of Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold. Mohamed Salah finished in sixth place in the men’s award in recognition of his fantastic debut season at Anfield in which he scored 32 Premier League goals. He was the highest-ranked player from the Premier League, with Chelsea’s Eden Hazard eighth, Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City ninth and Tottenham’s Harry Kane – who won the Golden Boot at the World Cup – 10th.