Luka Modric has been named the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year for 2017-18, seeing off competition from Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah.
The Real Madrid midfielder was crowned at the ceremony for the Champions League group stage draw on Thursday.
Modric, who has been with the Spanish side since 2012, featured 11 times as Madrid continued their dominance of the Champions League, scoring once and adding a single assist.
But it was his conviction in possession and ability to turn defence into attack with just one pass that made him so vital to Los Blancos’ success.
His former team-mate Ronaldo – who scored 15 goals in last season’s competition and winner of the previous two awards – and Liverpool star Salah were considered leading candidates due to their respective displays in attack.
But Modric, who also claimed the Golden Ball at the World Cup, won the most votes from coaches and journalists to seal the award.
“I would like to dedicate this to my coaches and my team-mates, ” said Modric.
“They are there in the good moments and also the not so good moments so this is for them.”
Champions League winners Madrid dominated the individual awards, winning every single one for the men’s game.
Keylor Navas, Sergio Ramos and Ronaldo won the respective accolades for best goalkeeper, defender and forward, while Modric took the prize for most impressive midfielder.
Pernille Harder of Wolfsburg and Denmark was named 2017-18 UEFA Women’s Player of the Year, beating Ada Hegerberg and Amandine Henry in the voting.
Meanwhile, Georgia international defender Guram Kashia won the inaugural UEFA #EqualGame Award for his taking a stand for diversity by wearing a rainbow armband in support of LGBT rights in the face of intense criticism from his homeland.