Modric, 33, helped Real Madrid win a third successive Champions League title in May and also captained Croatia to their first World Cup final, being named player of the tournament despite his side losing 4-2 to France.
After a shortlist of 3o players was selected by France Football magazine, a jury of worldwide journalists voted on the players they considered first, second and third.
Ronaldo's former Real Madrid teammate Luka Modric was awarded the gong ahead of the Portuguese at last night's ceremony.
Croatia captain Luka Modrić has won football's most iconic individual award when he was named the victor of the 2018 Ballon d'Or in Paris on Monday night.
The 2018 Ballon d'Or will be awarded on Monday, and for the first time in a decade, it might go to a new player.
On a historic evening in Paris, the ceremony had a women's category for the first time since its inception in 1956, with Norway's Ada Hegerberg crowned the inaugural women's Ballon d'Or victor.
It can be argued that, though Ronaldo and Messi have been the best two players on the planet for the whole ten year period. they weren't always the best player in a single year and could have easily not won a few of those Ballon d'Ors.
"They deserve it because of what they did with the national team at the World Cup and also because of the trophies they won with their clubs", Deschamps said. Albert Stanislas Koumbobacko (Central African Republic) chose Frenchman Karim Benzema who didn't even feature at the World Cup - then Juventus' Mario Mandzukic in 5th, missing out Modric altogether!
"I admired him and I respected him a lot when he was a player". He wanted me to open myself more.