Luka Modric‘s gesture on Monday evening earned him even more respect around the world of football.
The 2018 Ballon d’Or winner was present in Paris to pass on the award to Lionel Messi.
“Sports and football are not just about winning, they’re also about having respect for your teammates and rivals,” Modric said.
Modric was invited to the even even knowing that he wasn’t in the top 30, but he went along in the knowledge that his appearance was secondary to Messi‘s.
He preached and was an example, which neither Cristiano Ronaldo nor Messi have done in years wherein they haven’t been named the world’s best.
“When you don’t win you have to be there out of respect,” Modric said, “because on nights like this football is celebrated.”
Luka is pure elegance, both on and off the pitch. He’s a gentleman who honours his sport and the game.
He’s never loud, though when he speaks in the dressing room he’s worth listening to.
“A true gentleman,” Barcelona wrote on their Twitter account.
It was a simple gesture, but one that will be remembered. A historical lesson that should become a tradition. The winner should always receive the award from his predecessor.
Modric has set a high bar, but what will Messi do when he leaves the throne?
Nobody knows if Modric knows the verses of Madrid’s old anthem that says ‘even when he loses he shakes hands without envy or resentment,’ but in recent years they haven’t shown to honour those values quite like he did on Monday.