The winners of two of the last three Ballon d’Ors will meet in the Qatar 2022 World Cup semi-finals as Argentina take on Croatia: Lionel Messi and Luka Modric. While we mustn’t forget that Karim Benzema is the current Ballon d’Or holder, Messi and Modric picked up the Golden Ball at the 2014 and 2018 World Cups respectively, in addition to being the previous two winners of the Ballon d’Or, awarded by France Football to the best player in world soccer.
What individual awards have Lionel Messi and Luka Modric won?
Having been the fulcrum of the Croatia team that finished as runners-up to France in the World Cup, Modric won the award in 2018. Messi, meanwhile, won the Ballon d’Or for sixth and seventh time in 2019 and 2021 respectively. In 2020, of course, no player was given the trophy, with Robert Lewandowski, widely considered to have been the best player on the planet in that calendar year, controversially missing out on winning it for the first time. With the 2019-20 Ligue 1 season having been cancelled a few months before the Ballon d’Or winner was due to be named, the organisers opted not award the prize, with players in the French top-flight judged not to have competed equally with players in other European leagues.
Lionel Messi and Luka Modric, two legends of the game meet for a place in the Qatar 2022 World Cup final.
In any case, it’s not only the Ballon d’Or which has reflected the consistent excellence of the Croatian captain and his Argentinian counterpart. Messi won The Best, run by FIFA, and the Golden Boot in 2019, the same year he won the Copa América with La Albiceleste. Modric also won The Best, in 2018, and was named in the Champions League’s best eleven in the 2020-21 season.
How many trophies have Lionel Messi and Luka Modric won?
As for trophies won, the numbers are incredibly impressive on both sides. Five Champions Leagues and three Spanish league titles for Modric, while Messi has lifted the Champions League trophy four times, LaLiga on 10 occasions and Ligue 1 once. Modric has been the heartbeat of Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid teams for the best part of 15 years, while Messi has masterminded Barcelona’s and now PSG’s dominance for even longer.
Lionel Messi and Luka Modric at international level
Modric and Messi have, inevitably, been key figures on the international scene too. Modric, 37, has amassed 160 caps, scoring 23 goals, while Messi has netted an incredible 95 times in 170 games for Argentina. They have led their countries to the within touching distance of the pinnacle of international soccer, with Messi taking La Albiceleste to the 2014 World Cup final, which they lost to Germany, as well as two other Copa América finals. Modric, meanwhile, was the key man as Croatia made it to the 2018 final in Russia, where they lost to France; a marvellous achievement considering Croatia’s status as a relatively ‘new’ country and their short history in the World Cup.
Only one of the two will make it through to the final in Qatar, however, and they will be full of belief that can end their World Cup careers in a blaze of glory. Although Modric has not stated that this will be his last tournament, he will 41 at the 2026 edition. Messi, on the other hand, has already claimed that this is it for him, as far as the World Cup is concerned.
What is more likely is that the duo could feature in the next European Championships and Copa América, which will take place at the same time in summer 2024. As for winter 2022, two legends of the game will meet out on the field today, both going in search of their first – and last – World Cup.