England Championship

Modric wins world player of year, ends Ronaldo-Messi duopoly

LONDON (AP) Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi were far from the auditorium by the River Thames when Luka Modric broke their decade-long grip on FIFA's award for the world's best player.

Football's biggest individual accolade was handed to the 33-year-old playmaker on Monday night in recognition of a year when he led Croatia to its first World Cup final and won a fourth Champions League title in five seasons with Real Madrid.

"It is very important, because for such a small country to win the best player award, it's something amazing and that shows other small countries that everything is possible," Modric said. "You just need to believe and to work for it. And that all dreams could come true."