Luka Modric feels 2018 has been the best year of his career even if he does not win the Ballon d'Or.
Croatia international Modric is considered among the leading contenders for the award, which has been dominated by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for the past decade.
Ronaldo and Messi have each won the Ballon d'Or five times, with Kaka in 2007 the last player other than the duo to triumph.
Modric's fine performances at the World Cup earned him the Golden Ball, while he won a third consecutive Champions League crown with Real Madrid earlier in the year.
Fellow Ballon d'Or nominee Eden Hazard has backed Modric to take the France Football prize, but the 33-year-old says winning would not change his assessment of 2018.
"Let's see what happens," Modric said after Croatia's spectacular 3-2 Nations League defeat of Spain.
"I'm very proud to fight for it. If I win perfect, otherwise it will not change anything.
"With or without the Ballon d'Or, it's the best year of my career."
Life since his World Cup exploits has not been easy for Modric as Madrid struggled under the guidance of Julen Lopetegui.
The former Spain boss was sacked after 14 games in charge at the Santiago Bernabeu, with Santiago Solari confirmed as his permanent replacement after winning four games out of four while in temporary charge.
"Since Solari came, we started well," Modric added. "You can see in these four games, he arrival has been very good and hopefully we will continue like this.
"I feel better day by day, I came back very soon after the World Cup and without pre-season it was normal for me to come back, I feel physically better in the last few matches."
|Raptors star Leonard ´will be ready´ to face Bucks – Nurse|
|Iguodala out of Game 4 against Trail Blazers|
|Allegri inducted into Italian Football Hall of Fame|
|Steelers QB Roethlisberger ´genuinely sorry´ for Brown comments|
|Mets´ Cespedes fractures ankle in ranch accident|
|Italy remain at top table, Great Britain rally to relegate France|
|Guardiola convinced Kompany´s destined to return to Manchester City|
|Yastremska sets up Stosur clash in Strasbourg|
|Anderson stars for Lancashire on return from injury|
|Ebden and Seppi shocked in Geneva, Humbert shines at Lyon Open|
|AFC Champions League Review: Spain great Xavi ends playing career with defeat|
|Bernardo Silva makes Champions League pledge after winning Man City award|
|Henin impressed by Halep ahead of French Open defence|
|I love you, I´m out - Departing Kompany has his mic-drop moment in City´s trophy parade|
|Abelardo opts to leave post as Alaves coach|
|Magic Johnson points finger at Pelinka after Lakers power struggle|
|Junaid deletes inflammatory tweet following World Cup squad omission|
|Bosz: Champions League improves chances of keeping Brandt & Havertz|
|PSG insist Mbappe will stay despite forward´s ´new project´ comments|
|Former Salford forward Turgut hospitalised with ´severe injuries´|
|Potter takes over as Brighton and Hove Albion boss|
|Ancelotti happy at Napoli amid Juventus links|
|Hemel Stags on course for Ottawa relocation, New York club a work in progress|
|Nadal overtakes Federer´s top-10 streak|
|Omitting Wahab and Amir would have been foolish - Inzamam|
|Scotland appoint Kilmarnock boss Clarke|
|I´ll keep my place if Pogba arrives at Madrid – Kroos|
|Kroos: Madrid struggles ´normal´ after Champions League dominance|
|Pogba, Hazard and Mbappe in, Bale and Isco out? - Real Madrid set for busy close-season|
|Double amputee Monger stunned by Grand Prix de Pau triumph|
|Walter to take over Stuttgart from next season|
|Giannis expects Milwaukee to buck their ideas up after Game 3 loss|
|Bolivian FA confirms death of referee Victor Hugo Hurtado|
|Australia opener Burns leaves Lancashire for personal reasons|
|Record-breaking female driver Chadwick lands Williams development chance|
|Semedo cleared of concussion to boost Barcelona|
|Iguodala questionable for Game 4|
|Neymar should not captain Brazil at Copa America - Edmilson|
|Wahab, Amir and Asif named in final Pakistan World Cup squad|
|Bale staying at Madrid impossible as Zidane is ´not keen´ - Calderon|
|Kroos agrees Real Madrid extension to 2023|
|Gundogan to renew contract talks with Manchester City|
|Folau opts not to appeal against Rugby Australia ban, still considering options|
|Nadal clear French Open favourite – Djokovic|
|Nedved: No Juve decision amid Sarri and Inzaghi links|
|Gil Marin: We need players totally committed to Atletico|
|Gardner´s big game helps Yankees pull away from Rays|
|This is playoff basketball – Leonard on playing through injury in Raptors win|
|Second most NRL games and 99 tries – Cronk´s career in Opta numbers|
|Spieth: I´m almost back at my best|
|Three takeaways from Raptors´ key Game 3 win over Bucks|
|Trail Blazers star Lillard addresses rib injury|
|Raptors top Bucks in double-OT thriller|
|MLS Review: Nani brace lifts Orlando, Galaxy stunned by Rapids|
|Cronk: It´s been one hell of a ride|
|Johnson upbeat despite falling short|
|Koepka holds on at US PGA – how a dramatic back nine unfolded at Bethpage Black|
|´Phenomenal´ and ´mind-blowing´ – Koepka basks in US PGA triumph|
|NRL great Cronk to retire at season´s end|
|Kevin Muscat to leave Melbourne Victory|
|Bethpage wobble does little to deny Koepka´s status as golf´s dominant major force|
|Brooks Koepka´s timeline of major dominance following US PGA triumph|
|Koepka relieved to retain US PGA title after ´stressful´ finish|
|Allegri seeking a challenge, not a sabbatical|
|Koepka retains PGA title despite back-nine collapse|
|Spalletti tells players to prove they´ve the bottle to play for Inter|
|City want to dominate English football forever, says Laporte|
|Fernando Alonso fails to quality for Indy 500|
|Bordeaux collapse to costly defeat, Stade hopes dashed by Montpellier|
|Valverde pessimistic about Coutinho, Dembele playing in Copa final|