Lionel Messi has become the first player to win seven Ballons d’Or, edging Robert Lewandowski to the title as best men’s player in Europe.
The PSG star was joined on the women’s side by Alexia Putellas, who plays at his longtime club of Barcelona. Four Chelsea women’s players — Sam Kerr, Pernille Harder, Jessie Fleming, and Fran Kerby — finished in the top ten.
Putellas, who was an integral part of Barcelona’s treble-winning side with 18 goals and 12 assists in the Primera División, scored in the 4-0 Champions League final victory against the WSL champions Chelsea and was named in the tournament’s squad of the season.
The midfielder has already been named Uefa’s Women’s Player of the Year for her stellar performances and she has followed up last season with a strong opening to this campaign, including a four-minute hat-trick against Valencia.
Putellas edged out her Barcelona teammate Jennifer Hermoso, Chelsea’s Sam Kerr and Arsenal’s free-scoring striker Vivianne Miedema to lift the trophy. The Chelsea trio of Pernille Harder, Jessie Fleming and Fran Kirby were seventh, ninth and 10th respectively.
The 27-year-old follows in the footsteps of Ada Hegerberg and Megan Rapinoe, who won the award in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
Putellas said: “I’m very emotional, it’s a very special moment. I would like to start by thanking all my teammates, especially my current [Barcelona] teammates. For me it’s a collective success.”
Three Canadians made the women’s top ten, as PSG’s Ashley Lawrence and Portland’s Christine SInclair were joined by Fleming after winning gold at the Olympics.
Copa America and Copa del Rey winning Messi shined for Argentina and Barcelona, respectively, and moves two trophies clear of Cristiano Ronaldo.
The 34-year-old won a maiden Copa América title with Argentina this year and was also top scorer in La Liga before his emotional departure.
“It’s incredible to be here again. Two years ago I thought it was the last time. Winning the Copa América was key,” Messi said. “It is a special year for me with this Copa América title. It meant a lot to win at the Maracanã stadium and I was so happy to celebrate with the people from Argentina.
“I don’t know if it’s the best year of my life, I’ve had a long career. But it was a special one with the title with Argentina after the tough times and the criticism.”
The Bayern Munich striker, Robert Lewandowski finished second after being a heavy favourite to win last year’s award only for the ceremony to be cancelled because of Covid-19.
Chelsea’s Jorginho finished third in the voting, giving the Premier League a second-straight year with a top-three vote-getter.
Blues teammate N’Golo Kante finished fifth, and Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema ranked fourth.
Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah was also in the top 10, finishing seventh, one spot ahead of Kevin De Bruyne.
Cristiano Ronaldo skipped the ceremony and finished outside the top ten for first time since 2010.
Gianluigi Donnarumma was awarded the Lev Yashin Trophy as best goalkeeper of 2020, while Chelsea was named Club of the Year.
Barcelona’s teenage midfielder Pedri, who recently agreed a long-term contract extension which includes a €1bn (£846m) release clause, was named the winner of the Kopa Trophy – the best under-21 player of 2021. The 19-year-old was presented with the award by the former Ballon d’Or and World Cup winner Fabio Cannavaro. England’s Jude Bellingham just missed out on the Kopa award after an impressive season with Borussia Dortmund.
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