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FC Barcelona thank Luka Modrić for Ballon d’Or gesture

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The Croatian personally handed the trophy to Lionel Messi

Ballon D’Or Ceremony At Theatre Du Chatelet : Inside Ceremony In Paris Photo by Kristy Sparow/Getty Images

FC Barcelona has thanked Luka Modrić for not just being present at the Ballon d’Or gala, but personally handing the trophy to Lionel Messi. The Real Madrid legend won it last year, and he graciously accepted handing it over to this year’s winner.

Barça called him a “true gentleman” after the Croatian posted a picture of him and Messi at the gala on Twitter with the caption “sports and football are not just about winning, they’re also about respect for your teammates and rivals.”

Modrić was quoted saying that Messi’s record sixth Ballon d’Or was “something incredible.”

“When you see all the Ballon d’Ors there. It doesn’t seem real, it just shows that he is an incredible player and that he is one of the best players of all time. Fair play for all he has done and well done,” the midfielder said.

He also said something that could be taken as a rebuke of Cristiano Ronaldo, who once again skipped the ceremony when he was informed he wouldn’t be winning.

“Football is about respect and when you don’t win, out of respect, you have to be here, as it is a celebration of football,”