Luka Modric

Croatia and Real Madrid playmaker Luka Modric has been named 2018 Balkan Athlete of the year.

Men’s tennis world number one Novak Djokovic of Serbia was second in the Balkan poll, and the Women’s number one, Romania’s Simona Halep, was third.

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Modric won the Champions League with Real Madrid and then led Croatia to the World Cup final, where the midfielder was voted player of the tournament.

He also won the prestigious Ballon d’Or for the first time earlier in December.

Djokovic increased his haul of Grand Slam titles to 14 with wins at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open this year, and Halep won the French Open to claim her first career Grand Slam title.

The poll is organised by the Bulgarian News Agency (BTA) and included the national news agencies of Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Turkey.