Thursday, December 13, 2018
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Ballon d’Or and Real Madrid, a gleeful ‘love story’2 min read

Ballon d’Or and Real Madrid, a gleeful ‘love story’

On Monday, Luka Modric became the latest Real Madrid player to win the prestigious Ballon d’Or award. The Croatian midfielder pipped his former Real Madrid team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo to the award as he continued the club’s domination of Ballon d’Or arena. Modric became the 10th Los Blancos player in history to lay his hands on the coveted prize.


Real Madrid does have a special relationship with the Ballon d’Or trophy. In fact, with Modric, there are already eight players who have the trophy they have played at the Bernabeu during the 21st century. Alfredo Di Stefano was the pioneer. The striker, who had a legendary period of success, winning the first five European Cups, received the Ballon d’Or in 1957 and 1959. He is also the only player to have been presented with the Super Ballon d’Or for the best player in European football history (1989). Kopa, who shared a dressing room with Di Stefano, took the trophy in 1958 to stamp the Madridsta authority over the award.

Figo, Zidane, and Ronaldo

Luis Figo won the award in 2000, as he closely followed Zinedine Zidane, who had won the prize in 98. The Brazilian Ronaldo, who won the first in 1997 repeated the feat in 2002. Though David Beckham, never won the prize, Michael Owen, who came to Madrid in 2004, three years after lifting it when he was the star of Liverpool. The small English striker, who did not leave a great memory in Santiago Bernabeu, became the fourth Madridista of the century to lift the prize.

 

Cannavaro, Kaka and the advent of Cristiano Ronaldo

In 2006 Real president Florentino Perez signed Fabio Cannavaro after his star show at the World Cup in Germany. As happened with Figo or Ronaldo, the year ended with the award for the Italian. His successor in the Madrid club, Kaka, came to the Bernabeu two years after being named the best in the world in the ranks of Milan. Cristiano Ronaldo also knew what it was like to pick up the Golden ball award in 2008, but his signing for the Whites gave him four more Balls and as many Champions League. Ten major accolades, for which he has gone down in history before leaving by the back door to Juventus last summer.

 

Luka Modric, the new ‘best’

With Luka Modric, Real touched the eighth player of the 21st century. His case is special because he has been for more than five years in this Madrid side. Four Champions League, some wonderful displays in La Liga and the key figure for Croatia in the World Cup, Luka is perhaps the most genuine winner of those who have played for Real. He arrived without being a big star and at 33 he becomes another reason for pride for Florentino Perez and the Los Blancos who always had a weakness for this trophy. To get an idea of the significance of Madrid in this award during this century, it should be remembered that only four players have won in the last two decades without going through the Bernabeu’s local dressing room. Nedved, Shevchenko and the Barca players Ronaldinho and Messi.

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