Named after former Ballon d'Or victor Raymond Kopa - who died a year ago - the award will be given to a player under the age of 21 who has lit up world football.
Modric becomes the first Croatian player to win the award after an outstanding year for club and country.
Ronaldo scored 44 goals in all competitions in his final season for Real Madrid, while Salah netted the same amount for Liverpool in 52 games, while also breaking the Premier League record for most goals in a 38-game season with 32.
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In addition to the top player award, Salah's curling, left-footed strike in an October 12, 2017 match against Everton won the Puskas Award for the best goal.
France boss Didier Deschamps picked up the best manager award after guiding his nation to their second World Cup victory.
The best goalkeeper prize is to be contested by France captain Hugo Lloris, Denmark's Kasper Schmeichel and Belgium's Thibaut Courtois, whose World Cup heroics earned him a move to Madrid from Chelsea.
"I've always wanted to see a woman win this prestigious award", Brazil worldwide Marta told France Football.
Luka Modric and N'Golo Kante are paired together in the middle of the park, providing the base for the genius talents of Eden Hazard, Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe - the latter becoming the first teenager to make the World XI after a breathtaking year.