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.



South Africa beat Argentina in friendly at Pretoria

South Africa have an embarrassment of riches on the right wing with Nkosi and Cheslin Kolbe, who was rested for this match, bidding to start against New Zealand in Japan on September 21 in their World

Sibusiso Nkosi scored two brilliant tries as South Africa beat Argentina 24-18 on Saturday in a Rugby World Cup warm-up match in Pretoria.

The winger struck in each half for the Springboks, who found the going much tougher than last weekend when they hammered the Pumas by 33 points in Salta to win the Rugby Championship.

South Africa have an embarrassment of riches on the right wing with Nkosi and Cheslin Kolbe, who was rested for this match, bidding to start against New Zealand in Japan on September 21 in their World Cup opener.

All the other South African points at Loftus Versfeld came from fly-half Elton Jantjies, who kicked a conversion and four penalties.

Forwards Guido Petti and skipper Pablo Matera each scored a try for Argentina. Joaquin Diaz Bonilla kicked a conversion and a penalty and Benjamin Urdapilleta a penalty.

South Africa skipper and flanker Siya Kolisi showed no ill effects from a knee injury sustained last May before coming off after 53 minutes of his first international appearance this season.

Coach Rassie Erasmus wanted Kolisi to concentrate on his personal performance so he did not restore the captaincy. Instead veteran hooker Schalk Brits became, at 38 the second oldest Springbok to lead the team.

Although Argentina suffered a ninth consecutive loss, there was encouragement for coach Mario Ledesma from a much improved scrummaging performance, that won several penalties.

The Pumas thought they had taken the lead with three minutes left when debutant Lucas Mensa touched down, but the try was disallowed for obstruction by fellow centre Jeronimo de la Fuente.

South Africa started with an entirely different team from the one that crushed Argentina 46-13 last weekend in Salta to win the Rugby Championship for the first time. Argentina made 10 changes after being humiliated at home.

Springboks flanker Marcell Coetzee was off on 17 minutes and could not return after failing a head injury assessment test.

South Africa dominated territory and possession, but had to wait 20 minutes before being rewarded when Jantjies kicked a 22-metre penalty from in front of the posts.

Argentina had their first scoring chance seven minutes later. Diaz Bonilla succeeded with a more difficult penalty kick than that of Jantjies.

A stop-start half was crying out for a try. It finally arrived on 32 minutes when slick handling allowed Nkosi to step inside one opponent before holding off two others to score.

Jantjies struck a post with his conversion attempt leaving South Africa with an 8-3 advantage that did not adequately reflect their superiority.

That lead evaporated in additional time at the end of the half when Petti intercepted a pass from scrum-half Cobus Reinach and, showing amazing pace for a lock, scored between the posts.

Bonilla converted and the Pumas led 10-8 at the break despite being on the back foot for much of the opening 40 minutes.

The highlight of the second half was the second Nkosi try on 48 minutes, which gave the Springboks a lead they never surrendered.

Seemingly hemmed in, he beat three Pumas and then dived over Sebastian Cancelliere to raise his Test try tally to seven since debuting last season.

FIFA bans former Nigeria coach Samson Siasia for life following a match fixing probe

The case is the latest to emerge from FIFA’s long-running investigation into the activities of Singaporean Wilson Raj Perumal, who FIFA has called a « known match fixer » and who has admitted such activ

Former Nigeria national team coach Samson Siasia has been banned from the game for life following a match-fixing probe by world governing body FIFA.

FIFA said in a statement on Friday (August 16) that the adjudicatory chamber of their independent Ethics Committee found that Siasia was “guilty of having accepted that he would receive bribes in relation to the manipulation of matches in violation of the FIFA Code of Ethics.”

The 51-year-old Siasia played 51 times as a striker for the Nigerian national team and later coached various national youth sides before a spell as senior coach in 2016.

The case is the latest to emerge from FIFA’s long-running investigation into the activities of Singaporean Wilson Raj Perumal, who FIFA has called a “known match fixer” and who has admitted such activity in several interviews.

FIFA said that he was banned for life “from all football-related activities that is administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level.”

Siasia has also been fined $51,000.

Ethiopia U-15 make history with CECAFA tourney in Eritrea

Whiles it will be the first major tournament Eritrea will be hosting, there is history being made by the Ethiopian lads in town for the competition.

Eritrea is hosting ten other countries for the Council for East and Central African Football Associations, CECAFA, under 15 championships.

The tournament kicked off today, August 16 and is expected to end in early September. Whiles it will be the first major tournament Eritrea will be hosting, there is history being made by the Ethiopian lads in town for the competition.

They will be the first Ethiopian team to play in Asmara in over two decades. They get the feat after a friendly match planned for Asmara between the two senior sides failed to hold last year.

There are three groups from the draw that was held in Asmara earlier this month.Most of the teams are neighbours of Eritrea along with the East African sides like Kenya, Burundi, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania.

According to CECAFA General Secretary, Nicholas Musonye, the aim of the tournament is to develop talents at the grassroot level which is the basic stage in the development of a player.

The result of draw is as follows:

Group A – Eritrea, Kenya, Burundi, Somalia

Group B – Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, South Sudan

Group C – Tanzania, Sudan, Djibouti 0

International friendly: Nigeria squad against Ukraine announced

Copyright -AFCON 2019: Nigeria
Nigeria have revealed their squad for the international friendly against Ukraine in Dnipro Arena on Tuesday,September 10th,2019. In fact, midfielder John Ogu and goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi were among the 23 players called up by Gernot Rohr for the Super Eagles’ international friendly with the National Team of Ukraine. Coach Gernot Rohr is also without retired Nigerian stars John Obi Mikel and Odion Ighalo, however Maduka Okoyer Fortuna Dusseldorf goalkeeper, and Joe Aribo, Glasgow Rangers midfielder, were called up by the coach. Tyronne Ebuehi, who missed the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Egypt due to injury, has been recalled by boss Rohr after recovery. Nigeria squad: Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (Anorthosis Famagusta, Cyprus), Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Heartland FC), Maduka Okoye (Fortuna Dusseldorf, Germany) Defenders: Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy), Tyronne Ebuehi (FC Benfica, Portugal), Chidozie Awaziem (FC Porto, Portugal), William Ekong (Udinese FC, Italy), Leon Balogun (Brighton & Hove Albion, England), Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain), Jamilu Collins (SC Padeborn 07, Germany), Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (Rotherham United, England) Midfielders: Alex Iwobi (Everton FC, England), Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England), Oghenekaro Etebo (Stoke City FC, England), Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England), Joe Aribo (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland) Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Al Nassar FC, Saudi Arabia), Victor Osimhen (Lille OSC, France), Moses Simon (Levante FC, Spain), Henry Onyekuru (AS Monaco, France), Samuel Kalu (Girondins Bordeaux, France), Paul Onuachu (FC Midtjyland, Denmark), Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal FC, Spain)

Sundowns Coach Pitso takes the blame for dropped points

Sundowns-Chippa Copyright -Sundowns via Twitter
Following the 1-1 draw between Mamelodi Sundowns and Chippa United in their Absa Premiership tie at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Wednesday, Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane has declared that he takes the full responsibility for losing the two points. Indeed, Pitso revealed that dropping two points is a great disappointment to the team and that his mistakes were the reason for the draw, especially when he chose to bring on attacker Phakamani Mahlambi. “Obviously we are disappointed because I think we dropped two points. I think it was my fault, I should have sealed the game in the last three minutes, we should have used experience like we usually do it. But I opted to go in the last three minutes for Phakamani as an attacker, instead of maybe doing a sub that will keep the result,” Pitso Mosimane said. “It’s two points gone, but I guess maybe the game led me and deceived me because I could see we can score the second goal, but forgetting there’s two three minutes to go. We became a little bit greedy. Against SuperSport we scored a little bit late, so we thought maybe we could steal it like that. But it’s okay, lessons learnt. The game always teaches me and humbles me.”