Real Madrid midfielder and Croatia maestro Luka Modric admitted his World Cup Golden Ball award was ‘bittersweet’ after his side lost the final.
Modric’s performances during Croatia’s run to a first-ever World Cup Final were recognised by FIFA’s five-man Technical Study Group, although his country lost 4-2 to France on Sunday in Moscow.
“The award is nice but it is nothing compared to the World Cup,” Modric told reporters, as cited by Diario AS.
“Looking back in the future I will celebrate this award, which is a huge compliment but at the moment this is bittersweet because we are all sad.
“We all feel proud of our achievement of course but we never gave up, we kept fight, even when we were 4-1 behind – that is what this team is about.
“We leave with our heads held high, we feel that we deserved more than to lose the final.”
Elsewhere, Chelsea attacker Eden Hazard’s scooped up the Silver Ball for helping Belgium into third place and Antoine Griezmann – a goalscorer in the Final – claimed the Bronze equivalent.
Paris Saint-Germain’s French forward Kylian Mbappe won the award for the Best Young Player and Belgium No 1 Thibaut Courtois – recently linked with Madrid – took home the Golden Glove for best goalkeeper.
Finally, Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane held on to the Golden Boot for his six goals en route to the semi-finals with England.