Megan Rapinoe Wins Second-Ever Women’s Ballon d’Or Feminin
USWNT star Megan Rapinoe claimed Ballon d’Or Feminin in Paris on Monday night, becoming the second woman ever to win the prize after Ada Hegerberg.
The 34-year-old clinched the honour ahead of England’s Lucy Bronze and national team-mate Alex Morgan, with other nominees including Lioness star Ellen White, Netherlands’ Vivianne Miedema, Australia’s Sam Kerr and USWNT stars Rose Lavelle and Tobin Heath.
Rapinoe picked up the accolade after an outstanding year in which she won the Women’s World Cup for the second time in her career, earning the Golden Boot and the Golden Ball at the tournament with her six goals, as well as being named the player of the match in the 2-0 victory against the Netherlands in the final.
“I want to say congratulations to all of the other nominees,” Rapinoe said via a pre-recorded video after winning the honour. “I can’t believe I’m actually the one winning it.”
“It’s been such an incredible year and women’s football is lucky to have every single one of these amazing players every year. It pushes us and it pushes me to be the best player that I can.
“I want to say a huge thank you to my team-mates, the coaches, the U.S soccer federation for all of the support to allow me to be who I am and do what I do on the field but also be the person that I am off the field. That means the world to me.”
She has already plenty of individual recognition this year, picking up The Best FIFA Women’s Player award and being named in the FIFPro World XI, and now has the Ballon d’Or Feminin to add to her considerable collection of personal prizes.
Rapinoe has won plenty of silverware in national team colours, adding an Olympic gold medal, three Algarve Cups, two CONCACAF Women’s Championships, a SheBelieves Cup and a Tournament of Nations triumph to her two World Cup victories.
In the men’s equivalent, Barcelona’s Lionel Messi won his six Ballon d’Or as he finished ahead of Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk and Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo in the voting.
After taking home the award for the sixth time, Messi has now surpassed Ronaldo, who clinched the honour on five occasions while at Manchester United and Real Madrid.
It’s Messi’s first Ballon d’Or since 2015, after he won his first four consecutively between 2009 and 2012.
Sadio Mane finished fourth and his Liverpool team-mate Mohamed Salah was fifth, with the top 10 consisting off PSG’s Kylian Mbappe (sixth), Liverpool’s Alisson (seventh), Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski (eighth) and Manchester City duo Bernardo Silva (ninth) and Riyad Mahrez (tenth).
Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt won the Trophee Kopa award, for the best player under the age of 21, after his achievements in captaining Ajax to the Champions League semi-finals.
The Yachine Trophy for best goalkeeper was lifted by Liverpool shot stopper Alisson, who was part of the Reds’ Champions League success and their extraordinary season in the Premier League pushing Man City to the brink.