Cristiano Ronaldo had to settle for second place at the 2018 Ballon d’Or awards.
The Portuguese forward was the favourite to win the prize after helping Real Madrid to a third-straight Champions League trophy in May, but the World Cup changed that.
Portugal were knocked out at the round-of-16, Croatia reached the semi-final and Luka Modric won the Ballon d’Or instead.
Modric also claimed UEFA and FIFA’s awards as Ronaldo and Lionel Messi’s duopoly was brought to an end.
Ronaldo signed for Juventus in July and he’s done enough in his first few months in Turin to remain in the conversation for the best player in the world, scoring 11 goals in all competitions for the club.
But the World Cup carries great significance and it’s no surprise that three of the top four players in the Ballon d’Or voting competed in the final of the tournament in Russia.
Barcelona left-back Jordi Alba has another theory that may explain why Ronaldo didn’t win the award.
Alba reacts to Ronaldo missing out
Playing for Real Madrid offers many advantages, and not just when it comes to winning the biggest trophies in the sport.
The Madrid media machine is a powerful one and Alba wonders whether Ronaldo may have hurt his chances of claiming the Ballon d’Or when he swapped that level of influence for Juventus.
Alba was speaking after Barcelona’s 4-0 win over Espanyol on Saturday, where he admitted that Lionel Messi should have come out on top at Monday’s ceremony.
“The Ballon d'Or is a lie. Leo is always the best in the world. It was not fair on Messi,” the Spaniard said, per Eurosport.
"There are a lot of campaigns coming from Madrid. If Cristiano had been in Madrid maybe the media and the fans would have wanted him to win, but he left so, well, Modric.
"Modric is a great player and had a great season, he's one of the best in the world but No. 1 is Messi."
So Alba suggests that, as a result of Ronaldo leaving, the Madrid media instead turned their attentions to helping Modric win the award.
His thoughts are similar to those expressed by journalist Ben Hayward in August, after Modric won the UEFA Player of the Year award.