Modric wins Balkan award ahead of Djokovic and Halep

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              Real Madrid's Luka Modric holds the trophy after winning the Club World Cup final soccer match between Real Madrid and Al Ain at Zayed Sport City in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2018. Real Madrid won 4-1. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
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SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Croatia soccer star Luka Modric has been chosen Balkan athlete of the year.

Modric won the Champions League with Real Madrid and then guided Croatia to the World Cup final in July, where the midfielder was voted player of the tournament. He also won the prestigious Ballon d’Or for the first time earlier in December.

Tennis great Novak Djokovic of Serbia was second in the Balkan poll, and Romania’s Simona Halep third.

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

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