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Neither Kanté nor Kirby nor Eden Hazard win a 2018 Ballon d’Or

Luca Modric scores first non-Messi/Ronaldo trophy in more than a decade

France v Croatia - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Final Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

To nobody’s great surprise, a Chelsea player did not win the Ballon d’Or on Monday.

On the men’s side, that honor went to World Cup finalist and Champions League-winner Luka Modrić. It’s the first time somebody not named Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo (five apiece) has won the honor since 2007.

On the women’s side, the inaugural honor went to Norway’s Ada Hederberg, a 23-year-old striker who scored a patently outrageous 42 goals in just 25 games for Lyon last season as they, too, won a third straight Champions League title.

Hederberg barely beat out Danish international Pernille Harder of Wolfsburg. The winning margin was just 6 points, 136-130. Harder’s Wolfsburg, who have eliminated Chelsea in each of the last three years in the Champions League, were the losing finalists against Lyon (needed extra-time) but the two teams will be facing each other at the quaterfinal stage already coming up in April. Chelsea will be up against PSG at that same stage and will need to be at the their best to progress. A few goals from Fran Kirby, the only Chelsea FCW nominee, won’t hurt. Kirby finished second to last among the 15 nominees.

Among the men, Eden Hazard finished a career-best-matching 8th while N’Golo Kanté dropped three places from last year, to 11th. Former Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois finished 14th, with the award once again overvaluing World Cup performances and various other political and popularity considerations.

Last but not least, the newly created young player award, the Kopa Trophy, went to Kylian Mbappé, with Chelsea transfer target Christian Pulisic finishing a solid second!

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