Megan Rapinoe of the United States has won Women’s Ballon d’Or for 2019, with England’s Lucy Bronze the runner-up.
Winger Rapinoe, 34, co-captained the US to victory at this summer’s World Cup, where she was named player of the tournament and finished joint-top scorer with six goals.
Bronze, 28, the Uefa Women’s Player of the Year, played a key part in England’s run to the semi-finals.
Rapinoe’s compatriot Alex Morgan came third in the Ballon d’Or ranking.
Lyon striker Ada Hegerberg, who became the first winner of the women’s version of the award last year, finished fourth, while Arsenal and Netherlands forward Vivianne Miedema rounded out the top five.
The men’s award was won by Argentina and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi for a record sixth time.
Rapinoe, who was not in attendance at the awards ceremony, said in a recorded message: “I’m so sad I can’t make it tonight. It’s absolutely incredible, congrats to the other nominees.
“I can’t believe I’m the one winning in this field, it’s been an incredible year. I want to thank my team-mates and the US federation.”
Rapinoe has had a memorable 2019, becoming a global star for her performances during the World Cup but also for her willingness to use the spotlight to speak out on causes such as LGBTQ+ rights and equal pay.
She also made headlines after saying she would refuse to visit the White House if the US won the World Cup and joined the national team squad in suing their federation over equal pay.
After winning the women’s award at the Best Fifa Football Awards in September, she was the favourite to become the second ever recipient of the Women’s Ballon d’Or.
Silver for Bronze
A runner-up spot for Bronze is an impressive achievement, finishing ahead of star forward Morgan and Women’s Champions League record scorer Hegerberg.
Regarded as the best right-back in the world, Bronze will be familiar with finishing second to Rapinoe, having won the Silver Ball for second-best player at the World Cup.
The months since the World Cup have been tough for Bronze in an England shirt, having been played out of position in an experimental midfield role and being part of a side that has won just two of their last six games.
But she has experienced an incredible 2019 with club side Lyon, winning the French league and cup double and the Women’s Champions League.
Bronze’s Lionesses team-mate Ellen White was ninth in the Ballon d’Or ranking after finishing as joint top scorer at the World Cup with six goals.
The full list
1, Megan Rapinoe (Reign FC and USA)
2. Lucy Bronze (Lyon and England)
3. Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride and USA)
4. Ada Hegerberg (Lyon and Norway)
5. Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal and Netherlands)
6. Wendie Renard (Lyon and France)
7. Sam Kerr (Chelsea and Australia)
8. Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit and USA)
9. Ellen White (Manchester City and England)
10. Dzsenifer Marozsan (Lyon and Germany)
11. Amandine Henry (Lyon and France)
12. Sari van Veenendaal (Atletico Madrid and Netherlands)
13. Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns and USA)
14. Pernille Harder (Wolfsburg and Denmark)
15. Lieke Martens (Barcelona and Netherlands)
16. Kosovare Asllani (Tacon and Sweden)
17. Nilla Fischer (Linkopings and Sweden)
18. Marta (Orlando Pride and Brazil)
19. Sofia Jakobsson (Tacon and Sweden)
20. Sarah Bouhaddi (Lyon and France)
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