Messi & Neymar absence explained

Football's biggest prize has been dominated by Messi and Ronaldo over the past decade with the iconic duo winning five a-piece since 2008.

And the 2018 edition didn't just mark an end of the duopoly, it also represented the first time Messi failed to make the top-three podium in 12 years as he finished in fifth place.

However, what was more relevant was the absence of the Barca captain, his arch-rival Ronaldo and the world's most expensive footballer Neymar.

Atletico Madrid and France star Antoine Griezmann, who begrudgingly accepted his third-place finish alluded to the absence of his peers as Modric received the award.

"When I was informed about the third placement I just wanted to stay on my own. But in the end I was still among the finalists, so I decided to come here," Griezmann said at the event, as per Calcio Mercato.

"I'm here for respect of other candidates, I hope I will replace Modric soon."

Messi:

According to ESPN FC, Messi posted an image of himself and his kids shortly after the Modric was crowned as the world's best player.

Ronaldo:

While Ronaldo remained silent throughout and his whereabouts remain unknown, his family, most notably his sister Katia Aveiro made the noise for the second-place finisher.

Neymar:

The Brazilian superstar often lauded as ''the next Pele', who left Barca to escape the shadow of Messi and the world-record holder of a €222 million transfer, fell from third place to 12th over a single calendar year.

Much was expected of the Paris Saint-Germain attacking talisman in 2018, but all he will be remembered for, unfortunately, is his theatrical diving displays at the 2018 FIFA World Cup and now this...

While his teenage teammate Kylian Mbappe was in attendance to receive the inaugural Kopa award, the 26-year-old stayed home to play video games.

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