Alexia Putellas Wins Debut Ballon d’Or Award
This week saw Spain’s Alexia Putellas stake her claim to the coveted Ballon d’Or award for the very first time. The 27-year-old midfielder spent an outstanding season helping Barcelona win the treble, with her performance including 26 goals and 16 assists in 42 games.
The star striker, who in August was named UEFA women’s player of the year, cut an emotional figure at the Paris awards ceremony. She thanked her teammates for what she described to be a “collective” success.
Putellas is only the third women’s winner. The previous winners are Megan Rapinoe (US – 2019) and Ada Hegerberg (Norway – 2018).
Smashing First For Canada
Interesting about this year is that it marked the first time anybody from Canada has been nominated for the coveted award. Ashley Lawrence, Jessie Fleming, and Christine Sinclair all enjoyed Ballon d’Or nominations for their efforts this past season.
Putellas however outshone everybody with 186 points scored on the voting line-up, followed by fellow Spaniard Jenni Hermoso, who scored 84 points.
Hermoso fully deserved her nomination also, having netted 31 goals for Spain’s first division for the third consecutive season. She also finished joint Champions League top-scorer alongside Chelsea’s Fran Kirby.
Finishing third on the nominations list was Australia and Chelsea striker Sam Kerr. The super striker scored 21 goals in the English Women’s Super League as well as 6 more for Australia at this year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Lionel Messi Wins His 7th
For the men, Lionel Messi has once again walked away with the prestigious Ballon d’Or – his record-setting 7th so far. He also won trophies in 2019, 2015, 2012, 2011, 2010, and 2009.
The 34-year-old capped a super successful year with his first major international victory scored with Argentina when he led the national side to the Copa America trophy in July.
Messi commented on yet another huge accomplishment via a translator. He explained that while he didn’t know precisely how many trophies or victories he had left, his hope was on many, many more to come.
Messi led the Ballon d’Or race with 613 points as opposed to runner-up Robert Lewandowski’s 580.
The prestigious award is given out each year by France Football magazine and has been in men’s football each year since 1956.
Finishing third was Italy and Chelsea’s Jorginho with 460 points. His 2021 campaign saw him help Chelsea towards a Champions League victory and Italy to a European Championship win.
France and Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema finished fourth.