How Luka Modric conquered the football world in 2018

Modric won the UEFA Champions League with Real Madrid in May, took the Golden Ball at the World Cup in July, was named Europe’s best player in August, won the FIFA world’s best player award in Septemb

Croatian midfielder Luka Modric capped a ‘golden’ year, winning the Ballon d’Or award on Monday in Monaco, France.



Modric has arguably had the best year of his career, at least as far as accolades are concerned;



Modric won the UEFA Champions League with Real Madrid in May, took the Golden Ball at the World Cup in July and was named Europe’s best player of the year by UEFA in August.



The 33-year-old Croatian also won the FIFA award that recognises the world’s best player, before taking home the prestigious Ballon d’Or award, which had in the past 10 years been shared by Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Argentina’s Lionel Messi.



In this article, we look back at the defining moments of 2018 that defined Modric’s rise to the position of world’s best football year.



May: Modric wins third straight Champions League



In May this year, Spanish club side, Real Madrid defeated Liverpool to win a third consecutive Champions League title.



The unmatched feat etched the club and the players who had dominated Europe for three years in the pages of history. Real Madrid is Europe’s most successful club with 13 titles.



Modric, was an integral part of the team that won the Champions League for Real Madrid in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018.



July: Modric wins Golden Ball at World Cup



Modric was named the tournament’s best player and given the Golden Ball as a reward for leading the Croatian team to the final of the World Cup for the first time.



Modric beat Belgium’s Eden Hazard and France’s Antoine Griezmann to the top player accolade.



Croatia won all group games, including a famous win over Messi’s Argentina, in which Modric scored a sensational goal. They then overcame Denmark, hosts Russia and England on the way to the final.



While Croatia lost the final (2-4) to France, Modric had made such an impression for his emhatic workrate and the sheer will of the Croatian team to go all the way.



READ MORE: Croatia’s ‘Golden Generation’ has delivered

August: Europe’s Best Player



In August, Modric beat off competition from Ronaldo and Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah, to win the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year for 2017/2018.



He was also named the UEFA Champions League Midfielder of the Season.



“Always available to receive the ball, he is incredibly important to how the champions want to play,” said the UEFA Technical Observers when selecting Modrić in the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League Squad of the Season.



‘‘Though the 32-year-old is neither a prolific goalscorer nor an outright defensive shield, his dynamism and quality in possession set him apart.’‘



September: Modric is World’s Best – FIFA



In September, Ronaldo, Salah and Modric were up against each other agin, this time for the FIFA award for the best footballer of the year.



FIFA highlighted Modric’s wins with Real Madrid including the Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, Spanish Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup, in addition to Russia’s ‘best player of the tournament’ performances.



READ MORE: Modric beats Salah, Ronaldo to Best FIFA Men’s Player 2018

December: Modric is world’s best player – Ballon d’Or



On Monday this week, Modric crowned a fantastic 2018, breaking the duopoly of Ronaldo and Messi at the Ballon d’Or awards.



The award, voted for by journalists and organized by French magazine France Football, has been dominated by Barcelona’s Messi and Ronaldo, who have won all ten awards (five apiece) since Brazillian Kaka won in 2007 while playing for AC Milan.



“It’s a unique feeling. I’m happy proud and honored, I have a lot of emotions right now, it’s hard to describe in words,” said Modric, wearing a tuxedo as he collected the award.



‘4The Ballon d’Or was more than a dream. I simply cannot believe it. For all my career, I have tried to work hard and have persistence. In the tough moments, you have to show your courage and I always said the best things do not come easy. To achieve all this, it has not been easy.’‘



Modric got 753 points followed by Ronaldo on 476, Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann with 414 and Paris St-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe was fourth with 347, ahead of Messi on 280.



ALSO READ: Norway’s Hegerberg wins inaugural Ballon d’Or award celebrating women’s football

Testimonies about Modric



Modric started his professional football career at Croatian side Dinamo Zagreb in 2001, before moving to England in 2008. He played for Tottenham Hotspur for four seasons before moving to Real Madrid in 2012.



Over the years, he has earned the respect and trust of his peers.



“He is a player who has a very different talent, he improves anyone who is around him. It shows when he is not on the field – Madrid are a different team without Luka,” said Croatia team-mate Ivan Rakitić.



“Even if we leave trophies aside, the way he plays and the way he dominates for Real Madrid is impressive,” former Madrid and Croatia midfielder Robert Prosinečki.



“It’s not easy to stop Modrić because he’s such a clever player – he can read the game so well and can play in many different areas,” former Madrid manager José Mourinho.



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DRC gets first woman to head large football club [Football Planet]

Bestine Kazadi is taking over leadership of a team that has been on tabs with the successes of TP Mazembe in Lubumbashi

The game is slowly but surely getting dominated by women… In the Democratic Republic of Congo, one woman has just moved to manage one of the country’s large football clubs – AS Vita in Kinshasa.

Bestine Kazadi is taking over leadership of a team that has been on tabs with the successes of TP Mazembe in Lubumbashi. Her predecessor was president for 13 years and she is the first woman at the top of the club since it was created in 1935.

This and other highlights including the additional time for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations hosts as the tournament is pushed to January 2022 to their relief, plus highlights from around Europe to see how African players are performing in Serie A, Premier League, and La Liga

Ex-marathon runner, Kenya's Kipsang banned for doping

Kipsang won bronze in the marathon at the 2012 London Olympic. He broke the world record the following year in Berlin.

Kenya’s world record holder Wilson Kipsang has been slapped with a four year ban from competitions after missing series of doping tests.

A ruling published by the Athletics Integrity Unit on Friday states that the ex-marathon runner was found to have missed three tests.

He failed to provide timely information on his whereabouts on a fourth occasion, in 2018 and 2019.

Kipsang won bronze in the marathon at the 2012 London Olympic. He broke the world record the following year in Berlin.

The athlete held the record until Dennis Kimetto bettered his time the year after. Kipsang has won the New York and Tokyo Marathons and won the London Marathon twice.

AP

AFCON moved to 2022, delayed CHAN slated for Jan. 2021

AFCON to be played in 2022, CHAN 2020 slated for January 2021.

The Executive Committee of the Confederation of African Football, CAF, has announced the postponement of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON to January 2022 citing the coronavirus pandemic.

The tournament had been scheduled to take place between January and February next year. The football governing body, however decided that the local version of the AFCON, the Championship of African Nations, CHAN, will take place in January 2021.

It had originally been slated to be played in April this year. Both competitions will be hosted by Cameroon.

In a March 2020 announcement suspending the 2020 CHAN, CAF Organizing after a meeting in Cameroon cited amongst others, the confinement of population in many countries, restrictions imposed on grouping of teams and officials and the closure of borders as well as disruptions in air links between many countries as factors.

At the time, the decision followed the postponement of the AFCON 2021 qualifiers by CAF. The African football governing body had earlier this year decided to maintain the organization of its competitions.

Decisions of CAF Executive Meeting – 30 June 2020

The committee decided as follows;

Total Africa Cup of Nations Cameroon 2021

After consultation with stakeholders and taking into consideration the current global situation, the tournament has been rescheduled for January 2022. The date for the final tournament and the remaining matches of the qualifiers will be communicated in due course.

Total African Nations Championship (CHAN) Cameroon 2020

The final tournament has been postponed till January 2021 in Cameroon.

“The CAF Executive Committee is satisfied with t the Cameroonian authorities for their commitment towards the hosting of the two competitions. Cameroon is ready to host either competition and are within schedule,” CAF President Ahmad Ahmad said.

Interclubs 2019/20 season

The Total CAF Champions League and Total CAF Confederation Cup, will resume in September with a Final Four (4) format. Semi-Final matches will be played in a single match.

Total CAF Champions League = Venue for Final Four to be decided

Total CAF Confederation Cup = Morocco will host the Final Four

Total Women’s Africa Cup of Nations 2020

Due to challenging conditions, the 2020 edition of the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations has been cancelled.

Meanwhile, the CAF Women’s Champions League will be launched in 2021. The format and other details will be communicated in due course.

Zonal Qualifiers for U-20 & U-17 Africa Cup of Nations

A meeting with the Organising Competitions for Youth Football and the Zonal Unions has been proposed to finalize the arrangements for the zonal qualifiers. Meanwhile, the U-17 AFCON will take place in July 2021.

Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations 2020

Following the withdrawal of Uganda, a new hosting bid will be launched for the organization of the final tournament either in 2020 or 2021.

Headquarters Agreement

CAF President Ahmad Ahmad commended the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt under the leadership of His Excellency Abdel Fattah El Sisi, who appended his signature to the 10-year agreement on 24 June 2020.

With the new agreement, CAF and its officials will benefit from immunities and privileges granted to diplomatic missions in the territory of the Arab Republic of Egypt in accordance with the 1961 Vienna Convention.

CAF Ordinary General Assembly

The 42nd CAF Ordinary General Assembly has been rescheduled for December 2020 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. As per the recommendations of the CAF Governance Committee, the Elective General Assembly will be held on 12 March 2021.

CAF Awards 2020

Cancellation of the 2020 edition. Major partners for the event, Pickalbatros Group, has re-affirmed their contractual commitment towards the next two (2) editions.

Financial Support to Member Associations

CAF has allocated an additional USD 16.2 Million to assist Member Associations to mitigate challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Each Member Associations will be entitled to USD 300,000.

Appointment of Commercial Director

Confirmation of the appointment of Ali Aissaoui as Commercial Director. Prior to joining CAF, the Moroccan served as Business Development Manager of FC Barcelona.

Update on Transform CAF 2021

There has been giant stride in the execution of Transform CAF 2021 which was launched during the CAF Executive Committee in Doha, Qatar, last February. The CAF Administration will continue with the implementation of the major points towards achieving the targets of the project.

Kickoff! Somalia reopens renovated national stadium in Mogadishu

Somalia for years now honoured international games in Djibouti because of insecurity in the capital.

Somalia’s national stadium in the capital Mogadishu officially reopened today years after it was abandoned due to insecurity. A game was also honoured today after extensive renovations since 2018 when government took control of the facility.

It was adversely affected by the country’s civil war, at a point it was occupied by Al-Shabaab insurgents and later by the African Union’s AMISOM forces deployed to combat the group.

The European Union, Norway and other development partners supported the reconstruction efforts which began after the facility was officially handed over to the government by AMISOM in 2018.

President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo was accompanied by top government officials for the reopening ceremony as they watched the game, the first in three decades at the venue according to some reports.

Somalia for years now honoured international games in Djibouti because of insecurity in the capital. The stadium was captured from Al Shabaab during an operation to liberate the city in September 2011. AMISOM subsequently used it as a base till the handover.

According to a company contracted to work on grassing the pitch, its constructions works started on the in late January 2020 and were completed on the 10th of April 2020. Domo Sports Grass added that reopening had been hampered by COVID-19 pandemic.

It is the latest national facility to be reopened in Mogadishu. over the weekend, the president also oversaw the reopening of the National Theater, which had also faced a similar fate due to insecurity.

Egyptian giant Zamalek to boycott league [Football Planet]

Uncertainty still lingers in the forthcoming 2021 CAF. The cancellation of FIFA dates in September further complicates the CAF’s 2020 games

Uncertainty still lingers in the forthcoming 2021 CAF. The cancellation of FIFA dates in September further complicates the CAF’s 2020 games.

In Egypt, after issuing several threats, the Zamalek have finally taken action. The frustration of some clubs with the decision to resume the championship takes a dramatic turn. The Cairo-based club has announced that it will not be resuming the season due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Nigerian international Victor Osimhen who plays for Lille has this Monday been awarded the Marc-Vivien Foé Prize for the Best African player in French Ligue 1. The 21-year-old Super Eagle striker scored a total of 13 goals in French League 1. He succeeds the Ivorian Nicolas Pépé.