Luka Modric was awarded the prestigious prize of FIFA’s 2018 Best Men's Player award on Monday, ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah in the three-man shortlist. But Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has insisted that Lionel Messi remains the world’s greatest player.
The Argentine superstar was the surprise omission from the shortlist for the award and was beaten to the prize by Real Madrid midfielder Modric, following the former Tottenham midfielder’s World Cup exploits with Croatia during the summer.
Modric guided his nation to the final of the tournament during the summer, having won a third successive Champions League title with Madrid that season, but Valverde said, via FourFourTwo: “Everyone will have their opinion, I have mine.
“I do not think it’s time to compare players, but for us, Messi is the best. I have nothing else to say, [other than] Modric is a great player who has had a great year.”
The clamour for individual acclaim in football has become a dominant point of attention, particularly with the prestige attached to awards such as the Ballon d’Or, and Valverde has suggested that football is becoming increasingly comparable to show business as a result.
“Years ago there weren’t this many awards, so there wasn’t as much press coverage,” the Barcelona boss remarked.
“Now there’s lots of them, every gala is a homage to something or someone. They bring stars from all over the world and they have to sell that.
“It’s covered by more press, so it becomes more controversial. It sells, in a certain way. I put it [controversy around awards] down to that.
“It’s maybe excessive, but this is what it is. It’s a sport, but more and more it’s becoming show business.”
Though Messi did not make the shortlist for The Best award, the Barcelona talisman was named in FIFA’s FIFPro World XI, alongside long-time rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, who was also snubbed in favour of former Madrid teammate Modric for the award.
FIFA’s split from the Ballon d’Or means that the latter will provide another ceremony of such prestige and coverage in December, and Valverde believes that the competitive nature between the different awards ceremonies only adds to the drama involved.
Via afp.com, Valverde added: “Now everything is magnified. There are so many awards, so many ceremonies and every ceremony is an ego-trip for the organiser.
“The fact there’s so much written about it then means there is more noise, more controversy and controversy makes everyone listen.
“People are interested, we can’t deny it. There’s too much noise now but it is where we have ended up. This is supposed to be a sport. But all the time it is becoming more like show business.”