Luka Modric broke a decade of award dominance by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi after being crowned world footballer of the year by FIFA on Monday.

Marta won the women's award for a sixth time.

Modric was voted FIFA's best player in the 2017-18 season after winning the Champions League for a fourth time in five seasons with Real Madrid and leading Croatia to its first World Cup final where it lost to France.

Messi and Ronaldo were the only winners of world soccer's main individual award from FIFA in various guises since 2008, both winning five titles each.

college football

Northwestern RB retires

Northwestern leading rusher Jeremy Larkin is retiring from football after being found to have cervical stenosis, a condition that causes narrowing of the spinal canal in the neck and upper back.

Northwestern said Monday that Larkin's condition is not life threatening but prevents him from playing.

"Football has been a lifelong passion, and it has been a process to reconcile the fact I won't be on that field again, given I've played this game since I was 5 years old," Larkin said in a statement. "I'm extremely appreciative of the Northwestern sports medicine and athletic training staffs for uncovering this condition, and for my coaches and the medical staff for always putting my health first."

Larkin, a sophomore, is in his first season as the top running back for the Wildcats (1-2). He is fifth in the Big Ten in rushing at 115.3 yards per game. He has 346 yards rushing, 19 catches for 127 yards and has scored five touchdowns for an offense that has otherwise struggled. The Cincinnati native had 618 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns last season as a freshman backup.

... Virginia Tech starting quarterback Josh Jackson is out indefinitely because of a broken left fibula.


Wizards' Howard out

New Washington center Dwight Howard could miss the start of training camp because of a bad back.

Wizards coach Scott Brooks said Monday at the team's media day that Howard's back is sore and his status is considered day-to-day.

... DeMarcus Cousins has progressed in his recovery from surgery for a torn left Achilles' tendon and is doing light shooting and other skill work on the court and will be able to do some noncontact work as the Warriors' training camp begins.


Gionta retires

At a mere 5-foot-7, Brian Gionta knew the odds would be long at getting an opportunity to play in the NHL some 20 years ago after being drafted by the Devils. Little did Gionta know how far off he'd be in his initial expectations regarding his lack of size.

At 39, Gionta announced his retirement in closing a 16-year NHL career in which he played 1,026 regular-season games, plus another 113 in the playoffs.

The highlights included him winning a Stanley Cup with the 2003 Devils, captaining the Canadiens and Sabres, as well as representing the United States at two Olympics.