Alexia Putellas won the women’s Ballon d’Or award for the first time on Monday after an outstanding season with Barcelona and Spain.
The 27-year-old midfielder helped Barca win the treble and scored 26 goals and 16 assists in 42 games overall. She netted in the Champions League final against Chelsea, and in August she was named UEFA women’s player of the year.
“I’m very emotional, it’s a very special moment,” she said at the Paris ceremony through a translator. “I would like to start by thanking all my teammates, especially my current [Barcelona] teammates. For me it’s a collective success.”
The only previous women’s award winners are Norway striker Ada Hegerberg in 2018, and U.S. forward Megan Rapinoe in 2019. The 2020 awards were cancelled because the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the season.
Christine Sinclair, Ashley Lawrence and Jessie Fleming, three stalwarts of Canada’s Olympic gold medal-winning side in Tokyo this past summer, were in the mix to be voted world’s top soccer player — the first time Canadians have been nominated for the prestigious award.
Putellas finished ahead of club and country teammate Jenni Hermoso, who netted 31 goals to top the Spanish first division scoring charts for a third straight season. Hermoso was joint-top scorer in the Champions League with Chelsea’s Fran Kirby on six goals.
Chelsea and Australia striker Sam Kerr placed third in the voting after 21 goals in the English Women’s Super League and then six for Australia at the Tokyo Games. Kerr has maintained her excellent form with 13 goals in 12 games this season.
Argentina’s Lionel Messi won the Ballon d’Or award for the best player in the world for a record-stretching seventh time on Monday.
The forward added to his 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2019 trophies.
WATCH | CBC Sports’ Signa Butler discusses the Canadian nominees: