Alexia Putellas Wins Second Successive Women’s Ballon d’Or

FC Barcelona’s Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas receives her second Woman Ballon d’Or award during the 2022 Ballon d’Or France Football award ceremony at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris on October 17, 2022. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

 

Spain’s Alexia Putellas won the women’s Ballon d’Or for the second year running on Monday, the reward coming after a season in which she was the top scorer as her club Barcelona reached the Champions League final.

The 28-year-old Putellas saw off stiff competition, notably from three stars of the England team that won the European Championship, to take the award following a campaign which also saw Barcelona win a domestic league and cup double.

The prize, awarded at a star-studded ceremony at the Chatelet Theatre in central Paris, is a consolation for Putellas who is currently recovering from a serious knee injury.

The injury saw her miss the Euro in England in July and means she is unlikely to play at all this season.

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“It makes me even more annoyed to be injured, but I am very happy to be here,” Putellas said.

“To retain the trophy is much harder. When I injured my knee I thought my chances of winning it had gone but in the end the jury based their decision on the whole of last season, of which I only missed one month.”

Putellas scored 11 goals in the Champions League last season as holders Barcelona reached the final but lost to Lyon.

It is just the fourth time that a women’s Ballon d’Or has been awarded, with Norway’s Ada Hegerberg winning the inaugural prize in 2018 before United States superstar Megan Rapinoe succeeded her in 2019.

There was no Ballon d’Or gala in 2020 due to the pandemic before Putellas won it for the first time last year after helping Barca to Women’s Champions League glory for the first time in their history.

Putellas had already won the UEFA player of the year prize in August.

While Karim Benzema of Real Madrid is the overwhelming favourite to win the men’s prize later, the identity of the women’s winner appeared far less certain.

Beth Mead had been a leading contender after scoring six goals for England on their run to Euro glory on home soil, their first major tournament victory.

Her England teammates Lucy Bronze and Millie Bright had also been nominated, as had Hegerberg, who helped Lyon beat Barcelona in the Champions League final.

AFP

Benzema, Putellas Win UEFA Player Of The Year Prizes

Barcelona’s Spanish forward Alexia Putellas holding her “UEFA Women’s Best Player of the Year 2021/2022 Award” talks with Real Madrid’s French forward Karim Benzema holding his “UEFA Men’s Best Player of the Year 2021/2022 Award”, on stage in Istanbul on August 25, 2022, after the 2022/2023 Champions League group stage draw. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP)

 

Karim Benzema and Alexia Putellas were rewarded for outstanding seasons by winning the UEFA men’s and women’s player of the year prizes at a ceremony in Istanbul on Thursday.

France striker Benzema captained Real Madrid to victory over Liverpool in the Champions League final and scored 15 goals in the competition, while Putellas was the top scorer in the Women’s Champions League, helping Barcelona reach the final which they lost to Lyon.

Benzema took the men’s honours ahead of club team-mate Thibaut Courtois and Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, succeeding Chelsea midfielder Jorginho who won the award last year.

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The 34-year-old scored hat-tricks against Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea in the Champions League knockout rounds and netted three times across the two legs of the semi-final against Manchester City.

He struck 44 times in 46 games altogether as Real also won the Spanish title.

Putellas, 28, claimed the prize for a second straight year despite suffering a serious knee injury that ruled her out of Euro 2022.

She finished ahead of England forward and European champion Beth Mead, the joint leading scorer at the tournament, and young Germany midfielder Lena Oberdorf.

Carlo Ancelotti was named best men’s coach for his success with Real, with Dutchwoman Sarina Wiegman crowned best women’s coach after leading England to Euro glory on home soil last month.

AFP