Has Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi’s duopoly been ended for good or has it only been temporarily stopped?
Luka Modric’s Ballon d’Or win ended a decade of dominance from Ronaldo and Messi as he became the first player other than the superstar duo to claim the award.
The midfielder had a sensational 2018, helping Real Madrid win the Champions League before leading Croatia to a World Cup final.
Meanwhile, Ronaldo finished second after he also helped Madrid to their third consecutive European triumph, while Messi, rather astonishingly, came fifth.
With arguably the greatest player to have ever played the game finishing outside the top four, it led to many football fans questioning the value of the award.
But instead of just praising Modric for winning the award, we’ve decided to create a world XI based on the Ballon d’Or rankings.
As always, the rankings are extremely top-heavy, full of attacking players. You have to really scan down the list to find some defensive-minded players.
But we’ve done that and carved out a 4-3-3 formation based on the Ballon d’Or list alone and it’s bad news for Messi once again.
THE WORLD XI BASED ON BALLON D'OR RANKINGS
Here it is - with their Ballon d’Or ranking in brackets:
Thibaut Courtois | 14th
Sergio Ramos | 19th
Raphael Varane | 7th
Diego Godin | 28th
Marcelo | 22nd
Luka Modric | 1st
Kevin de Bruyne | 9th
N'Golo Kante | 11th
Antoine Griezmann | 3rd
Cristiano Ronaldo | 2nd
Kylian Mbappé | 4th
That’s not a bad side, is it?
Of course, the likes of Messi (5th) and Mohamed Salah (6th) will feel hard done by that they haven’t made the XI but, according to the Ballon d’Or rankings, there are three better attackers than them.