Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s incredible decade-long dual over the Ballon d’Or was resoundingly ended this week when Luka Modric deservedly claimed the crown.
The magical little Croatian has had an incredible year.
He played a massive part in Real Madrid claiming yet another UEFA Champions League title while gathering a glut of individual awards in the process.
Modric won FIFA’s The Best award, the World Cup Golden Ball and European Player of the Year all while guiding his national side agonisingly close to an unbelievable World Cup victory.
There can be no questioning the fact that Modric has had the year of his life, however, many have been questioning whether it that was good enough to usurp Ronaldo and Messi.
Staggeringly, Messi finished way down in fifth in the voting for the award having spent the last ten years in the top three.
Ronaldo finished runner-up in the end after bicycle kicking his Real Madrid side to the Champions League final and almost single-handedly carrying Portugal into the knock-out stages of the World Cup.
The result has created plenty of heated debate among fans and experts alike and no one can seem to agree.
Now, Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde has waded into the debate and it is safe to say he is not impressed in the slightest.
Speaking in his latest press conference, Valverde clearly spoke his mind on the matter.
“I am not going to enter into whether there are inconsistentencie’s in these kinds of awards; that’s for them to explain.” Valverde started.
“If we are talking about the best player in the world, for me it is absurd - but we congratulate Luka, he is a great player.”
While he might not have said it directly, it is quite plain that Valverde thinks Messi more than deserved the award.
Sadly, the Messi - Ronaldo duopoly simply couldn’t last forever and Modric’s incredible win truly marks the end of a remarkable era - deserved or not.