Luka Modric looks to once again get the better of Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah when FIFA announces its Best Men’s Player on Monday.
The three are finalists for the annual honour, which will be presented at the world governing body’s Best Football Awards in London.
It’s the second piece of silverware the trio has vied for in 2018 after Modric captured the UEFA men’s player of the year award last month.
Modric teamed up with Ronaldo last season to help Real Madrid capture its third consecutive Champions League title.
He then was the driving force as Croatia reached the World Cup final, winning the Golden Ball as the tournament’s top player.
The midfielder’s performance in Russia makes him the choice of one former World Cup standout.
“Croatia were the surprise package at the World Cup,” ex-Germany captain Oliver Kahn said on FIFA’s website.
“Luka Modric won the Champions League and also put in some unbelievable performances at the tournament, both physically and in terms of his play.
“He’s the favourite to win it this year for me.”
Ronaldo, who joined Italian champions Juventus over the summer, is no stranger to the honour, having won it five times in all of its incarnations.
His first came in 2008 with the FIFA World Player of the Year, which was followed by the Ballon d’Or in 2013 and 2014.
The trophy then became part of the FIFA Best Awards in 2016 and he’s been the only winner since.
Salah is another worthy finalists after topping the Premier League with 38 goals last season, his first with Liverpool.
He also helped the Reds to the Champions League final and led Egypt to its first World Cup appearance since 1990.
While none of France’s World Cup-winning side were nominated for the player award, the man who led them to victory is among the top coach finalists.
Didier Deschamps is up against last year’s winner Zinedine Zidane, who orchestrated Real Madrid’s European title run, and Zlatko Dalic, who guided Croatia to their first appearance in a World Cup final.
France’s World-Cup winning captain Hugo Lloris of Tottenham Hotspur; Belgium’s Thibaut Courtois, who moved from Chelsea to Real Madrid this summer; and Denmark and Leicester City’s Kasper Schmeichel are the top goalkeeper finalists.
Norway’s Ada Hegerberg and Germany’s Dzsenifer Marozsan of European and French champions Lyon and Marta, who captained Brazil to the Copa America Feminina title, are finalists for the top women’s player award.
Sarina Wiegman, the 2017 winner after leading the Netherlands to the European championship, looks to repeat as top women’s coach against Reynald Pedros, who guided Lyon to the European/French double, and Asako Takakura, who oversaw Japan’s run to the Asian Cup championship.
The men’s and women’s player and coach awards will be decided in a vote of the captains and coaches of national teams worldwide, along with media and an online public ballots, while the goalkeeper winner is chosen by a select FIFA panel.
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