The 33-year-old Modric - who was also named FIFA's Best Men's Player this year - helped Croatia to the World Cup final in Russian Federation having guided Madrid to a third successive Champions League crown.
"To change position allowed me to develop my game, before I was more an offensive player", said Modric, who won a third consecutive Champions League title with Madrid this year.
"As a kid we have dreams".
"It's a unique feeling, I'm happy, proud and it's an honour", Modric said on collecting the prize.
The top ten included: Harry Kane (ENG/ Tottenham Hotspur), Kevin De Bruyne (BEL/ Manchester City), Eden Hazard (BEL/ Chelsea), Raphael Varane (FRA/Real Madrid), Mohamed Salah (EGY/Liverpool), Lionel Messi (ARG/Barcelona), Kylian Mbappe (FRA/Paris Saint-Germain), Antoine Griezmann (FRA/Atletico Madrid), Cristiano Ronaldo (POR/Real Madrid), Luka Modric (CRO/Real Madrid).
China, US hail trade truce but key obstacles still remain
Applause rose up in the hall on Saturday as the leaders signed off on a final statement at the end of a two-day summit. The White House characterized that encounter as an informal chat, but Putin gave it more significance.
Trump Had 'Informal' Conversation With Putin At G-20 Summit
European Union leaders urged G20 participants to address concerns about journalist safety and the Saudi-backed war in Yemen. Moscow's refusal was cited by Trump as the reason for his decision to cancel a planned bilateral with Putin.
Trump signs new trade deal with Canada, Mexico
Signing the deal is largely ceremonial; it still requires ratification by all three countries before it can formally take effect. He struck a more optimistic note on Friday, saying, "It's been so well-reviewed, I don't expect to have very much of a problem".
The 33-year-old was instrumental as Real clinched a third successive Champions League trophy last season.
Women's fight for recognition on the biggest stage, meanwhile, took a big step with the award of Hegerberg, who plays for French side Olympic Lyonnais. The Portuguese ended up as runner-up, while Messi was not even in the top three.
Hegerberg is a three-time Women's Champions League victor with French side Lyon and scored a tournament-record 15 times last season.
WA soccer superstar Sam Kerr has been named the world's fifth-best female player in the inaugural Women's Ballon d'Or.
"I want to say thanks to France Football". "I want to end this speech with a message to all young girls in the world".
France Football, which hands out the Ballon d'Or, and FIFA combined their awards to create the FIFA Ballon d'Or in 2010. "I let them know, quite clearly, what I found wasn't working".