The shortlist for this year’s FIFA Best Women’s Player has been revealed.
Man City defender and last year’s winner, Lucy Bronze, is nominated again but there is no room for former winners Megan Rapinoe and Lieke Martens.
13 players have been shortlisted in total, with three finalists to be chosen in January following the results of a public vote.
Here’s a look at the nominees and which stars are favourite to win the prestigious award in 2021:
The Barcelona Connection
It’s no surprise that five of the 13 nominees play for Barcelona. The Spanish team stormed to their first European title last year and are undoubtedly the best club side in the world at the moment.
In truth, anyone from Barca’s squad could have justifiably received a nomination but if you had to pick one star –– it would be Alexia Putellas.
The 27-year-old has showcased a remarkable ability to be both a provider and a goal scorer. So far in 2021, the Spanish midfielder has notched 37 goals and registered 23 assists.
Her teammates, Caroline Graham Hansen, Jenni Hermoso and Aitana Bonmati have also been recognised.
Graham Hansen was snubbed of a nomination for the Ballon d’Or but wreaked havoc against Chelsea in the Champions League final.
Meanwhile, Hermoso finished as the team’s top scorer last year and Bonmati consistently pulled the strings from central midfield.
The Chelsea quartet
While Barcelona have five nominees, Women’s Super League champions Chelsea have four players on the shortlist.
One of these is striker Sam Kerr, who has now been nominated for the award five years in a row.
Last season, Kerr defied some initial sceptics who claimed she couldn’t adapt to life in England, by winning the WSL Golden Boot.
And so far this campaign, the Australian has taken her game to new heights. In just five league starts, Kerr has nine goals and has four in Europe as well.
Chelsea veteran Ji So-yun, Danish forward Pernille Harder and captain Magdalena Eriksson have also been shortlisted.
The English Duo
Bronze has been injured for all of this season so far. However, her performances for City last campaign as well as for Great Britain in the Olympics over the summer were enough to land her a nomination.
Her City teammate Ellen White also shone for Team GB in Tokyo and was named England’s International Player of the Year for 2021.
Another Chelsea player, Fran Kirby, could consider herself unlucky not to have been shortlisted, having been voted the WSL Player of the Year last season.
The Best of the Rest
The remaining three nominees include Sweden’s Stina Blackstenius, Canada’s Christine Sinclair and Arsenal forward Vivianne Miedema.
Dutch striker, Miedema, broke the record for most goals scored at a single Olympics with 10, which included four in one game against Zambia.
38-year-old Sinclair helped guide Canada to a surprise gold medal and won the penalty in the final, which Jessie Fleming converted.
And Blackstenius was influential for Sweden in reaching the final in Tokyo and has since attracted interest from a host of the world’s best clubs.
Currently, it’s Putellas who appears to be the frontrunner to win the award, though Kerr’s recent form could well improve her chances. Here are the three players GiveMeSport Women predicts to be finalists:
Predicted finalists: Alexia Putellas, Sam Kerr, Caroline Graham Hansen
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