FC Barcelona and Croatia midfield star Ivan Rakitic has lavished praises on his club teammate Lionel Messi, but has conceded the individual awards for this season shall go to his national teammate, Luka Modric.
Modric, winner of Golden Ball having helped Croatia to their first ever World Cup final, recently won the UEFA Men's Player of the Year for his successful season. He beat his former teammate and present Juventus player Cristiano Ronaldo, and Liverpool star Mohammed Salah to the accolade. Messi, who enjoyed yet another impressive campaign with his club, was not nominated for the UEFA award.
When the three-man list for FIFA's The Best award was announced, it was the same trio, with Messi missing. And many see the UEFA result repeating, putting their weight behind Modric.
One of those who is backing for this to happen is Rakitic.The pass master believes Messi is the 'best player of all time', but Modric was better in the previous year. Speaking to reporters, he said, "For me, in general, the best player of the world and maybe the greatest of all time is Leo Messi. But I think it was the year of Luka, sincerely, I think it's something that Leo and all the people know, he [Modric] deserves all the awards.
"Sincerely if he received the award of the best European player... I don't know what he has to do to be the best player of the world, with all he did. I don't need to help him as a good friend of him as I'm, he made everything on himself, nobody gave him anything. For me it's clear that he has to be Luka [for The Best award]."
Earlier on Monday, FIFPro, along with FIFA, announced its 55-man shortlist who will be in contention for the 2018 FIFA World X1. This season's 55-man shortlist consists of some familiar names with some outstanding statistics. Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane are the only Africans to feature in the list, while Real Madrid have the most number of players on the shortlist (11).
Eleven players will be making their first appearance on the shortlist, while two players, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gianluigi Buffon will continue their record of featuring in every shortlist since its in inception in 2005. The shortlist has also seen some interesting omissions in the form of Gareth Bale, Mesut Ozil, Manuel Neuer, Alexis Sanchez and many more.