Luka Modric was honoured with the Best FIFA Men’s Player award at a ceremony in London on Monday evening, fighting off competition from Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah to win the prize.
The captains, managers and media representatives of each FIFA member all got to cast their votes to decide who won, and now that the full details have been released, it’s time to partake in everyone’s favourite pastime: analyse tactical voting. Yay!
So who put their money on Modric, who rated Ronaldo highest, and who wanted to see Salah crowned king?
Find out below.
1. Luka Modric
Percentage of the Vote: 29.05%
Croatia’s inspirational captain won by an overwhelming margin of nearly 10%.
Even Barcelona’s Lionel Messi overlooked club rivalries to vote for Real Madrid star Modric as his player of the year, with former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo putting him second.
England manager Gareth Southgate, Wales boss Ryan Giggs and Poland captain Robert Lewandowski were among those who also chose Modric top of their lists.
The least surprising person to choose Modric was Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic, who ensured that his countryman enjoyed success even as he missed out on the manager of the year award.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo
Percentage of the Vote: 19.08%
Ronaldo failed to make it a trio of Best awards as he was handily beaten by his former teammate. However, the likes of England captain Harry Kane, Italy manager Roberto Mancini and Arsenal’s Swiss skipper Stephan Lichtsteiner all sided with the Juventus magician.
Portugal boss Fernando Santos and the Portuguese media representative both kept faith with their national hero, as did Ronaldo’s new Juve teammate Giorgio Chiellini.
In one of the more surprising inclusions, Lionel Messi named his arch-nemesis third. Ronaldo did not return the favour.
3. Mohamed Salah
Percentage of the Vote: 11.23%
Salah had an incredible first year for Liverpool but Egypt’s failure at the World Cup and a lack of silverware ultimately cost Salah.
Reds teammate Virgil van Dijk stood by his friend, as did ex-Liverpool defender Ragnar Klavan, the captain of Estonia.
Michael O’Neill and Alex McLeish, managers of Northern Ireland and Scotland respectively, both voted in favour of Salah, as did Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis. Surprisingly, Uzbekistan coach Hector Cuper – who managed Egypt at the World Cup – did not choose Salah in his top three.
4. Kylian Mbappe
Percentage of the Vote: 10.52%
Mbappe narrowly missed out on the shortlist of three but finishing ahead of Messi at the age of 19 is no mean feat.
He didn’t get much help from his countrymen though, with Didier Deschamps and Hugo Lloris choosing other French players higher. The French media representative didn’t even have Mbappe in his top three!
Former World Cup winner Marcello Lippi was one of the few notable names to choose Mbappe top of his list. Lionel Messi, Ryan Giggs and Germany manager Joachim Low picked the young Frenchman second.
5. Lionel Messi
Percentage of the Vote: 9.81%
A year like Lionel Messi’s would usually be enough for a top three spot, but the Argentine is held to a higher standard than most. Argentina’s media representative might not be very popular after leaving Messi out of his top three and including Ronaldo instead!
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill voted for Messi. Antonio Valencia and Aleksandar Kolarov are among the noteworthy captains to have chosen the Barcelona star, with Harry Kane putting him second on his list.
6. Antoine Griezmann
Percentage of the Vote: 6.69%
A lowly sixth place – that’s what scoring twice in the Europa League final and once in the World Cup final gets you.
However, Antoine Griezmann can take heart from being the teacher’s pet, as Didier Deschamps chose him ahead of teammates Raphael Varane and Kylian Mbappe.
Uruguay’s Diego Godin was the only captain to pick his Atletico Madrid compatriot as player of the year, and he convinced his manager Oscar Tabarez to take his side as well. Cristiano Ronaldo chose Griezmann third on his list.
7. Eden Hazard
Percentage of the Vote: 5.65%
Either Roberto Martinez didn’t understand the rules or he’s just painfully honest, because he didn’t choose his own Belgium captain Eden Hazard in his top three. That will be an interesting conversation during the next international break.
Manuel Neuer was the most high profile captain to choose Hazard as his number one, while Panama’s Roman Torres obviously didn’t bear any ill will from seeing his side taken apart by Hazard at the World Cup.
Hazard was the only Premier League player to make Gareth Southgate’s top three, placing third.
8. Kevin De Bruyne
Percentage of the Vote: 3.54%
Oh for goodness sake, what is it with these Belgians and their unflinching honesty? Martinez didn’t choose De Bruyne in his top three either (it makes sense now; he’s too nice to pick a favourite), but neither did Hazard! And neither did notable Belgian journalist Kristof Terreur!
De Bruyne’s total brilliance for Manchester City and Belgium apparently wasn’t enough for most people, with Scotland’s Charlie Mulgrew one of only two captains to vote for the assist master. He was slightly more popular among managers, with Dutch boss Ronald Koeman among those to pick De Bruyne.
9. Raphael Varane
Percentage of the Vote: 3.45%
The people’s choice. Raphael Varane may have taken only a small margin of the vote but some of world football’s greats recognised him as their personal player of the year. The top two both picked Varane as their number one, with Modric and Ronaldo both honouring his contribution to Real Madrid’s Champions League win… and more likely probably trying to vote tactically to ensure their own victory.
France captain Hugo Lloris picked Varane top of his list, as did the French media representative, while manager Didier Deschamps put him second. Gareth Southgate also gave Varane his personal silver medal ahead of more popular names.
10. Harry Kane
Percentage of the Vote: 0.98%
Less than 1% of the vote? But he took those penalties so expertly! Sadly, Harry’s goalscoring prowess wasn’t enough to win over his fellow voters, with only 17 of them including him in their top three.
Special shout-outs to Bahamas manager Dion Godet, Chinese Taipei boss Gary White and Vanuatu media representative Raymond Nase for choosing Kane as their number one. Gentlemen, you are true friends of the crown.