Luka Modric a worthy winner of Best FIFA Men's Award, says Paul Merson
Last Updated: 25/09/18 11:08am
Paul Merson believes Luka Modric is a worthy winner of the Best FIFA Men's Award, while insisting Harry Redknapp deserves credit for Modric's rise.
Modric was crowned the best player in the world at the Best FIFA Football Awards in London on Monday, beating Mohamed Salah and favourite Cristiano Ronaldo to the prize.
It capped a fine 2017/18 for Modric. The 33-year-old won a third consecutive Champions League trophy with Real Madrid in May before reaching the World Cup final with Croatia in July.
Modric then went on to win the Golden Ball award for the best player in the World Cup after Croatia's final defeat by France, and also won the UEFA Men's Player of the Year award - beating Ronaldo and Salah in the process.
Speaking on The Debate, when asked if Modric was a worthy winner, Merson said: "Definitely. For the World Player of the Year, the pinnacle is the World Cup and the way he performed at the tournament was just unreal.
"In the England game, he just constantly kept on running. I don't think I've ever seen anyone as fit as that on a football pitch. He just kept on going and going and not just running, his quality. I just think he's top, top drawer.
"Quietly have a word for Harry Redknapp. When Modric was at Tottenham, he was struggling a bit and then Harry went there and put him in a position where you get him on the ball. After that, he's never looked back. He's a worthy winner."
Former Chelsea midfielder Steve Sidwell believes there is additional significance in Modric's win, with either Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi having won the top player award every year since 2007.
"It breaks the mould, what with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo doing it for the last 10 years," Sidwell said. "When he was at Spurs, I was fortunate to play against him and he got games by the scruff of the neck.
"When he dominated, you couldn't get near him, he was that good. He dictated the tempo, set the tone, the standard for the game and he made players around him play better and raise their standards as well."