The 10-year Ballon d’Or duopoly of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi was broken on Monday night by Luka Modric, who spoke about some of the players who could have won the award over the past decade, only to be beaten by the Portuguese or Argentine.
While acknowledging the brilliance of Ronaldo and Messi, he was glad he could potentially usher in a new era.
“These two were at an exceptional level over the last 10 years,” he said after collecting the prize.
“Maybe in the past there were some players who could have won the Ballon d’Or like Xavi, [Andres] Iniesta or, I don’t know, [Wesley] Sneijder, but it didn’t happen.
“People now are finally wanting something else.
“I think it’s a victory for football tonight.
“I’m happy that I am the winner, but this award is also for all these players that probably deserved to win and didn’t.”