“The streak is over” – Modric dethrones Messi/Ronaldo

By Sabeel Sachal Hazir 

“If you are depressed you are living in the past.
If you are anxious you are living in the future.
If you are at peace you are living in the present.”
Lao Tzu

Luka Modric has won the 2018 Ballon d’or. A prediction which has now become a simple fact of life, the odds on favorite for this year’s greatest individual honor in men’s football picked up an award that pundits all over the world will say he was bound to win after the year he’s had.

However, it would be naive to believe his victory tonight was an eventuality. In a sport where two titans have been at war for a decade, it was a mere mortal who would usurp the crown from right under them. Now it would be easy to be lost completely to the emotions that have been brought to the surface by this moment and declare this the “end of an era”, however that would be premature. What we have witnessed tonight is not two dynasties crumbling, there is no revision of the status quo. Most likely by this time next year, the debate about who is the “GOAT” (greatest of all time) will be raging and the two extraterrestrials posing as human beings will be fighting it out for the sixth golden ball to be chucked into the treasure trove both men have in their homes.

Alas, it was never about bringing an end to the dynasties but rather it was an attempt by one man to chase down the best version of himself. That version of Modric may inspire others to believe in the possibility that they too can achieve immortality even when in the presence of two legends who have written their legacies in gold. This was defiance. A refusal to allow supremacy to remain unchallenged even if only for a heartbeat.

In the face of two impossible foes, either one who could easily be described as an immovable object or irresistible force, Luka Modric resisted. He resisted the urge to quietly settle into his role as just being part of the elite of world football, a role most players can only dare to dream about when nobody is looking. He resisted the urge to just bow down to the juggernauts of the game. Most importantly however, he resisted the urge to give up. I speak not only about the past year but throughout his life. 

I mean no disrespect to the two men who I have still not addressed by their names, too many articles and news stories revolve around them as it is (rightfully so perhaps). Both of those giants of the game have worked harder than I could possibly imagine, hence they continue to be in a class of their own. Still, the hardships Modric had to endure from his childhood are public knowledge and while everyone has their own battles in life to face, we cannot ignore the odds overcome by this warrior. From child refugee, to captaining his nation to a World Cup final, and now taking home the highest individual honor in football. Even without divulging into the details what I have laid out before you is enough to comprehend the magnitude of this man’s victory. While it would be understandable to remain in shock over what this win tonight has brought to an end or to ponder what the future holds for the players, to refer back to the quote at the beginning of this article I choose to live in the present. Let us find peace in the present.

The powers that be have limited me to 500 words but 500 pages would not do this moment justice. Perhaps the greatest individual rivalry in the sport has reached its conclusion and perhaps next year we will see a new king crowned (although I find it will be back to business as usual). These are all issues to be fleshed out over the coming months but for now, let us relish this moment as fans of not any specific teams or players but as supporters of the beautiful game. The streak is over. Luka Modric is the best player in the world, even if only for a year. The streak is over. Luka Modric is the best player in the world, if only for a moment. The streak is over. Luka Modric is the best player in the world.

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