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MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JULY 15: Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric of Croatia walk on the pitch for the warm up prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final between France and Croatia at Luzhniki Stadium on July 15, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Ivan Rakitic has taken a diplomatic approach to club and country loyalties by backing fellow Croatian Luka Modric to win any individual award that his Barcelona team-mate, Lionel Messi, cannot.  

Messi has not been included in the final three nominees for the 2018 Best FIFA Men’s Player award, and Rakitic believes, as a result, it should go to Modric, who played a key role in Croatia’s run to the 2018 FIFA World Cup final, per Marca (h/t Goal’s Dejan Kalinic):

If there is an individual prize that Lionel Messi can’t win, then there’s no doubt that this season it should go to Luka Modric. It wouldn’t surprise me if he were to win with many more votes. This has been his year, and I am really happy for him. If Messi isn’t the best, then it has to be Modric.”

          

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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