In September, Modric claimed FIFA's The Best award, also given to the world's top player, a prize which Messi and Ronaldo had not lost since 2008.
Norwegian forward Ada Hegerberg won the inaugural women's Ballon d'Or.
Lyon's Ada Hegerberg was crowned the first ever female Ballon d'Or victor but the moment became shrouded in controversy when French DJ Martin Solveig - who was helping host the gala alongside David Ginola - asked the Norwegian to "twerk".
"2018 is a dream year for me", Modric said. "In my second year in Tottenham, I played as a midfielder and I felt better in the middle". Kylian Mbappe won the first-ever Trophee Kopa award for the best young player under 21.
'It's hard to find the words to express how I feel, ' Modric said. Now plying her trade at Lyon, she is a three-time Women's Champions League victor.
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While the blunder does not seem to have changed the overall standing of the top 5, it is still disconcerting and could easily have affected the outcome in any other year.
"To win the Champions League and play in the final of the World Cup as captain was unbelievable and finish with this is.it is hard for me to chose from those moments". Honoured by one and all, Hegerberg stood on the stage, ready to be greeted by former France global David Ginola and French DJ Martin Solveig.
"I'm a little amazed and astonished with what I'm reading on the internet, of course I didn't want to offend anyone", he said.
Hegerberg played down the incident.
Taking a stand against what she describes as a lack of respect for female players in Norway, she hasn't played for the national team since it crashed out of the group stage of the Women's European Championship in 2017 without scoring a goal.
Without getting into the debate on whether Ronaldo or Messi are done winning the Ballon d'Or, Modric's feat will once again instill the belief among other players that they too can have their names inscribed in the elite list of Ballon d'Or winners. I didn't really think about it at the time to be honest. "I let them know, quite clearly, what I found wasn't working".