Many of the footballing world got surprised when Real Madrid pass master Luka Modric was announced as the winner of UEFA Men's Player of the Year award instead of his former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo, who had won the accolade in the last two editions.
The decision was reportedly not taken well by the Portuguese, who decided to skip the ceremony. Soon after, Ronaldo's agent Jorge Mendes claimed that his client not winning the award was 'ridiculous and shameful'.
But more than week after the whole saga, Modric has revealed that Ronaldo had no qualms about getting beaten. Speaking to RTP3, the Croatian said, "Cristiano sent me a message, congratulated me and told me he is happy for me and I deserved it. He also said he can't wait to meet me again."
The duo finished first and second respectively in the recently concluded UEFA awards, with Liverpool star Mohammed Salah finishing third. But the duel between the three is set to continue following the announcement of the candidates for FIFA's The Best awards.
Earlier this week, FIFA announced it's three-man shortlist for the 'The Best Men's Player of the Year 2018' award, with Ronaldo a favorite to win it for a third consecutive year.
Ronaldo scored 15 goals, helping Real Madrid to their third consecutive UEFA Champions League title in 2017/18. But more than a month later, he stunned the world and made a shocking move to Juventus.
His biggest competition again will be in the form of Modric, who enjoyed a stellar 2017/18 season. He was a focal point as Los Blancos defended their UEFA Champions League title successfully. The 32-year-old then followed his tremendous form with his country, guiding them to the final of the World Cup 2018. For his performances in Russia, Modric was awarded the 'Golden Ball'.
The outsider, yet again, in this three-man list is Salah. The Egyptian enjoyed an extraordinary season with the English club, scoring 44 goals in all competitions for them in 2017/18.
While there is no contesting the selection of these three players for the award, many were surprised by the exclusion of Barcelona skipper Lionel Messi. The 31-year-old has been in the top-three of every FIFA award ever since 2007, and despite being the leading goal scorer of La Liga in 2017/18 and winning the league with his club, his name was excluded from the list.