Real Madrid's Luka Modric celebrates with the Ballon d'Or award. Photo: Christophe Ena/AP
Bravo Luka Modric, bravo.

The Croatian’s classy Ballon d’Or dedication to the unfashionable players who lost out on the big award in the age of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo was a beautiful gesture.

Barcelona legend Xavi and his long-time partner-in-crime Andres Iniesta were name-dropped alongside Wesley Sneijder.

And while Ron and Messi probably deserved most of their wins, you can feel sympathy for those manne.

Sneijder, in 2010, had an incredible year, starring for an Inter side that won the treble and winning the World Cup Golden Ball after top-scoring for losing finalists Holland.

He probably deserved to beat out Messi that year.

Then in 2012 when Messi won the award for a fourth year in a row, Iniesta and Xavi were incredible for Barcelona and European champions Spain.

But for the most part of their remarkable 10-year grip on football's biggest individual prize, Messi and Ron were the best.

And regularly, the debate was whether Ronaldo was actually better than Messi.

However, that time is now slowly drawing to an end.

Last season, despite scoring more goals than anyone in Europe and leading Barca to one loss short of an unbeaten season, Messi was overlooked.

He also dragged Argentina to the World Cup with a hattrick in their must-win qualifier.

Messi though still didn’t finish in the top three, with Mo Salah beating him out on a run to the Champions League final

And after helping Real Madrid to a hattrick of European Cups, Ronaldo was pipped by Modric for his excellent World Cup.

Next year, we may well see both Ronaldo and Messi miss out on the top-three shortlist altogether, with the rise of Kylian Mbappe and Eden Hazard.

But I wouldn’t write off the two just yet.

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