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Top 9 Ballon d'Or nominees after favorite Rapinoe

Women's Ballon d'Or 2019: Top 9 contenders after favorite Rapinoe

December 2, 2019 By Juan Aguerrevere
Here are the top 9 Ballon d'Or contenders after favorite Rapinoe who has already amassed the Adidas golden Ball and The Best FIFA Women's award

The most awaited calendar year football award ceremony, The Ballon d'Or, is approaching. The 64th edition of the gala will be held at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, on Monday evening.

Why Megan Rapinoe is the clear 2019 Ballon d'Or favorite

Megan Rapinoe, 34, was born to make history. She's much more than a world-class footballer. She is an activist with a drive to inspire the youth, women and men around the world through the means of the beautiful game. The Redding, California native, who was recently named the IFFHS Best Woman's Playmaker, is favored to win the 2019 Women's Ballon d'Or after a historic FIFA Women's World Cup win.


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Rapinoe featured in five matches missing a group stage encounter against Chile and the semifinal against England due to a lingering hamstring injury. Nevertheless, she scored six goals and provided three assists in just 428 minutes. In other words, she averaged 48 minutes per goal involvement becoming the most efficient player during the summer in France. In comparison, Alex Morgan averaged 54 minutes, Mallory Pugh 59, Carly Lloyd 65 and the best ratio by a non-American was Brazil's Cristiane at 75.

Rapinoe's last goal of the tournament came in the form of a penalty in the final against the Netherlands to give her team a 1-0 lead. At 34 years and two days, she became the oldest markswoman in a FIFA Women's World Cup Final. 

Tournament officials determined that Rapinoe was the best player in the competition and awarded her the Adidas Golden Ball. Her fellow countrywoman and Women's Ballon d'Or nominee, Alex Morgan was just one step behind the pink-haired star. She also scored six goals and provided three assists, but it took her one more game to attain these marks. As a result, Rapinoe was also awarded the Adidas Golden Boot. On September 23 at the FIFA Football Awards in Milan, the Reign FC player was called up to the podium to collect The Best FIFA Women's Player prize. 

Her rise at the summit of major awards shortlists in 2019 is, however, controversial. In terms of league football, Rapinoe's numbers are nothing to boast of: 452 minutes across six games and, yes, zero goals. 

[Statistics via NWSL Soccer]

Megan Rapinoe's NWSL 2019 stats.

Whilst outrage may strike fervent followers of the NWSL, which is one of Women's Football's strongest club football leagues, the fact remains that Megan stood tall every time the whole world was watching. The 2019 Women's Ballon d'Or seems to be in her bag, already!

Who are Meagan Rapinoe's closest challengers?

France Football released the 20 Women's Ballon d'Or nominees in October and there are plenty of familiar faces in that list. Of course, Alex Morgan and Lucy Bronze are among the top contenders. These two were the two other finalists of The Best FIFA Women's Player award.

Rapinoe's closest challengers for the Ballon d'Or are the likes of Bronze and Sam Kerr. Bronze helped Lyon win their sixth consecutive Champions League and the Feminine Division 1. She left fans in awe after a fantastic World Cup performance from both a defensive and offensive aspect, too. Kerr was a fantastic goal scorer for club and country last season. She led the Chicago Red Stars to the NWSL final as the league's top-scorer and scored five goals in four games for Australia during France 2019.

Still, don't be surprised to see Brazil's Marta or America's poster girl, Morgan, receive more votes than other players who, on paper, had greater impact on their nation and club during the year. If you have been keeping an eye on these types of award ceremonies over the years, then by now, you should know that publicity plays a big role. A player's popularity might have a greater impact than their actual performances.

Marta lived a terrific career becoming the face of Brazil and women's football for many years. She broke a couple of records at the Women's World Cup, but that is not enough to be a top-5 nominee. Likewise, Morgan had a disappointing club season, playing only six games without a goal or an assist. During France 2019, she did not quite impress in subsequent games after opening the campaign with a handful of goals against Thailand.

Top 9 female players in 2019 after Megan Rapinoe

Ada Hegerberg (Olympique Lyon, Norway)

Despite not participating in the latest edition of the Women's World Cup as a protest for equal pay, Ada Hegerberg's performance at the club level is worthy of a spot on the top 10 list. The forward was key in Lyon's sixth UEFA Champions League victory scoring seven goals, three of them in the first half of the final against Barcelona. Also, she scored 20 goals (2nd in the league) in just 20 games leading Lyon to its 12th Feminine Division 1 title. Her World Cup absence will cost her a back-to-back Ballon d'Or award.

Sam Kerr (Chicago Red Stars, USA)

Arguably the best forward in the world, Kerr showcased her scoring ability during the summer scoring five goals in just four matches. She also led the Chicago Red Stars to the NWSL final as the top-scorer of the league with 18 goals. Kerr is one of the most well-rounded nominees in terms of league and World Cup endeavors. It would be harsh to judge her based on Australia's round of 16 exit. 

Marta (Orlando Pride, Brazil)

Marta became the first player, male or female, to score in five different World Cups when she scored a penalty in a group stage match against Australia. Consequently, she converted another penalty in the third group stage match against Italy to become the leading goalscorer, male or female, at the World Cup with 17 in total. Additionally, she scored six goals for the Orlando Pride in the 2019 season.

Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride, USA)

Morgan had a colorful World Cup run scoring and assisting as many times as her teammate, Rapinoe. Nevertheless, she only played six NWSL games without a single assist or goal. Unfortunately for Morgan, her great World Cup efforts will be a shadow of Rapinoe's.

Lucy Bronze (Olympique Lyon, France)

Lucy Bronze is part of the full-back revolution. Her efforts from the right-back position helped Lyon win the Feminine Division 1 and Champions League. People who watched England during the Women's World Cup understand why she was a top 3 nominee for The Best FIFA Women's Player award and why she will be voted highly in the Women's Ballon d'Or. 

Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit, USA)

The 24-year-old has become a fan favorite over the past few years and her Women's World Cup performance solidified that. She scored the last goal of the World Cup against the Netherlands to secure the first place finish. Furthermore, she scored two other goals but her quality on the ball and drive to better herself was the highlight of her performance.  

Ellen White (Manchester City, England)

Ellen White was England's markswoman in the 2019 Women's World Cup. She found the back of the net six times making her a joint top scorer with Rapinoe and Morgan. The Manchester City star scored almost half of England's goals in this tournament (6 of 13). 

Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns, USA)

Tobin Heath is the fourth American to reach the 20-player shortlist. The New Jersey native helped the US reach the France 2019 final and produced and assist. Her dribbling skills and through passes are electric.

Amandine Henry (Olympique Lyon, England)

The host's captain, Amandine Henry, was a joy to watch in the World Cup commanding the midfield. Not only did she impress with her skill on the ball and passing, but she scored two goals. One of the goals was free-kick beauty against South Korea and the other an extra time round of 16 game-winner against Brazil.

Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal, Netherlands)

Viviane Miedema is one of the world's most prolific women strikers at only 23 years of age. She has scored 69 goals in 87 games for the Netherlands since 2013. She didn't let the world of football down by scoring three in the Women's World Cup in France. Just a day before the gala, the Dutch exhibited her hunger for goals as she netted six goals and provided four assists in a single FA WSL match as Arsenal Women trounced Bristol 11-1.

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Whatever happens at the 2019 Ballon d'Or ceremony on December 2, it will be yet another win for Women's Football as female players will once again be in the limelight.

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