Ballon d’Or Feminin: Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas becomes first woman to win award twice

Barcelona midfielder Alexia Putellas has won the Ballon d’Or Feminin for a second successive year, becoming the first woman to win the award twice since it launched in 2018.

Putellas, 28, was named the best women’s player in the world at the Monday gala in Paris despite being sidelined since June with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

She finished ahead of Arsenal’s Beth Mead and Chelsea’s Sam Kerr, who were second and third, respectively.

“Without my teammates this would not have been possible,” Putellas said after receiving the award. “I want to thank the staff and the coach and everyone involved at Barcelona.

“I’m very happy to be back here and pleased because a year ago I was able to win this prize and it pushed me to want to be even better.”

Prior to her injury in the summer, Putellas captained Barcelona to a third successive Primera Division title. The Catalan side made history by winning all 30 of their league games throughout the 2021-22 campaign.

She also led Barcelona to success in the Spanish Super Cup and the Copa de la Reina to complete a domestic treble, although they came up short in the Champions League.

Putellas’ strike in the final was not enough to stop French side Lyon from beating Barcelona 3-1 in Turin.

However, after scoring 11 goals in the Champions League, more than any other player in the competition, Putellas was later named UEFA Women’s Player of the Year ahead of Mead and Lena Oberdorf.

In addition to those 11 goals in Europe, she scored 18 league goals from midfield, four in the Copa de la Reina and one in the Super Cup.

Putellas had hoped success would follow for Spain in the summer, but she tore her left ACL in training with the national team ahead of the European Championship in England.

She has not played since and is expected to remain out of action for several more months.

Last year, Putellas became the first Spanish winner of a Ballon d’Or since Luis Suarez in 1960. She was also named the Best FIFA Women’s Player.

The Ballon d’Or Feminin was launched in 2018 when it was won by Lyon’s Ada Hegerberg. Megan Rapinoe won it the following year before it was suspended in 2020 because of the pandemic.

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