Luka Modric beat Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah to win the best men’s player award at the FIFA Best Awards.
Modric took the honour following another success-laden season with Real Madrid, in which he helped the club to another Champions League victory for a third consecutive season.
His World Cup campaign also earned many plaudits, after playing a crucial role in guiding Croatia to their first final and winning the Golden Ball.
Ronaldo was also heavily tipped for the award after winning his the fifth European title of his career last season, though was not present at the ceremony due to an upcoming midweek fixture with his new club Juventus.
In his acceptance speech Modric paid tribute to his hero Zvonimir Boban, captain of the 1998 Croatian side who excelled in France to finish third in the World Cup.
He was my big inspiration and that team gave us belief that we could achieve something great in Russia. Hopefully we can be the same for next generations,” said Modric.
“This award shows that we all can become the best with hard work, dedication and belief. All dreams can come true.”