Matildas star Sam Kerr has fallen agonisingly short of world football’s top individual honour for the fifth year in a row.
The 30-year-old earned her best result to finish second in the Ballon d’Or voting but was beaten to the award by Spanish world champion Aitana Bonmati.
It is the third time Kerr has narrowly missed out on the prestigious honour, having finished in third in 2021 and 2022 after previous nominations in 2018 and 2019.
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Kerr was the only Matildas player to finish in the top 10 for the award this year, with Real Madrid winger Hayley Raso ranked 17th by voters.
The Australian pair missed the ceremony in Paris due to this week’s Olympic qualifiers in Perth.
Sam Kerr starred for the Matildas when she was finally fit to return at the World Cup. Credit: NurPhoto via Getty ImagesBonmati’s golden year continued with the Ballon d’Or triumph. Credit: AP
Bonmati was on hand for the announcement and would not be denied after a fine year for club and country – winning the La Liga Femenina and Champions League double with Barcelona before playing a pivotal role in Spain’s Women’s World Cup success.
The 25-year-old’s Ballon d’Or triumph comes after winning the Golden Ball award as the World Cup’s best player.
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Bonmati’s teenage teammate Salma Paralluelo toasted her meteoric rise with a third-place finish in the Ballon d’Or.
“We are a country that lives football, intensely. We have a unique talent in Spain,” Bonmati said.
Lionel Messi, who led Argentina to the World Cup in 2022, won the men’s award for a record-extending eighth time in what was otherwise a relatively mundane season with club side Paris Saint-Germain.
Now with MLS outfit Inter Miami, Messi had previously been awarded the Ballon D’Or in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019 and 2021.
“I couldn’t imagine having the career that I’ve had,” Messi said.
“Everything that I’ve achieved. The fortune I’ve had playing for the best team in the world, the best team in history.
“To win the Copa America and then the World Cup, to get it done is amazing.”
Manchester City were crowned the men’s team of the season after Pep Guardiola’s side delivered the treble of Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup.
City’s Erling Haaland won the Gerd Muller Trophy for the world’s top-scoring striker after hitting a record 56 goals last season.
Aston Villa and Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez won the Lev Yashin Trophy for goalkeeper of the year after his starring role in his nation’s World Cup win.
England international Jude Bellingham was voted the Kopa Award winner for the best under-21 player in the world.
Bellingham has hit 13 goals in 13 appearances since moving to Madrid in the summer, including a double to lead Real to victory in his first ‘Clasico’ against Barcelona on Saturday, but his success was for last season – where he shone for Borussia Dortmund and England.
– with PA
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