Luka Modric saw off competition from France's World Cup stars as the Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder won the Ballon d'Or on Monday to end a 10-year stranglehold on the award by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
"It's an unbelievable feeling", said Modric, who helped Real Madrid win a third-straight Champions League in May this year before guiding Croatia to the World Cup final in July, its best ever performance at the tournament.
"To change position allowed me to develop my game, before I was more an offensive player", said Modric, who won a third consecutive Champions League title with Madrid this year.
"As a kid we all have dreams". It was a really special year for me. Marca use Modric's quote of: 'My dream since childhood was to be a player in a great team, the Ballon d'Or is more than a dream'.
Kylian Mbappe, who dazzled for France as Les Bleus triumphed in Russian Federation in the summer, won the newly-formed Kopa award for the best young player. Brazil star Neymar was third a year ago but only 12th this time.
Norwegian striker Ada Hegerberg won the prestigious award, which she described as "a huge step for women's football" after it was presented for the first time.More news: Priyanka and Nick Jonas get married in a ceremony in Jodhpur
A "reputable" journalist represented each of the 195 countries, and they were asked to select their top-5 players from 2018, with their top-ranked footballer receiving six points, 2nd four points, 3rd three points, then two and one points for their final picks.
Mario Mandžukić, who retired from worldwide football after the World Cup, was ranked 25th.
Modric capped a brilliant 2018 by edging five-time victor and former team-mate Ronaldo, who finished second, while Messi was fifth in the voting.
Hegerberg is a three-time Women's Champions League victor with Olympic Lyonnais and scored a tournament-record 15 times last season.
"I want to say thanks to France Football". The suggestion clearly made Hegerberg uncomfortable.
"Sometimes you have to take tough decisions to stay true to yourself".