Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modrić was left far from impressed by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo's decision to snub the Ballon d'Or award ceremony earlier this month, claiming that the two only enjoy "showing up when they were winning the awards".
The award's 10-year duopoly was broken by Modrić at the ceremony in Paris, becoming the first player other than Messi or Ronaldo to lift the Ballon d'Or since AC Milan talisman Kaká in 2007.
But the absence of Messi, and former Real Madrid teammate Ronaldo, didn't go unnoticed by Modrić, who claimed that the two were 'unfair' by not showing up to support the other players, including the winner of the Kopa trophy Kylian Mbappé and the first female Ballon d'Or winner, Ada Hegerberg.
"I can't say why somebody decided not to show up, that's their choice," Modrić said, quoted by Croatian outlet Sportske Novosti. "Doesn't make much sense to me not to attend, though.
"I guess they liked showing up when they were winning the awards. Such behaviour is unfair towards the other players, the fans, the game and finally towards the voters who gave them the award for 10 years in a row. But I guess everyone acts as they please."
Modrić went on to say he still believes that Messi - who voted for the Croatian in the Ballon d'Or voting - and Ronaldo are still the best players in the world, but that this year the pair didn't deserve to win the title.
"Look, it's all very simple to me. Messi and Ronaldo are two football phenoms that have been dominating the game for the last decade," Modrić continued. "They are a cut above the rest, skill-wise.
"But this is a seasonal award. Most of the players, managers, football legends, journalists, fans, voted for the same winner [in major award shows this year]. I guess they are all wrong? If we are giving out awards based on skill only, then just cancel the voting and give them all to Messi and Ronaldo."