France Football has announced the shortlists for the 2023 Ballon d’Or, the Kopa Trophy, and the Yashin Trophy. The winners will be announced on October 30 at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris.
For the Ballon d’Or Feminin, four members of Spain’s 2023 World Cup-winning squad have been nominated: the tournament’s Golden Boot Aitana Bonmati, the scorer of the final’s winning goal, Olga Carmona, Salma Paralluelo, the World Cup’s Young Player of the tournament and Levante’s Alba Redondo.
Two other Spaniards are featured in the shortlist, the Barcelona pair Mapi Leon and Patri Guijarro. The duo, alongside a couple of others, announced stepping back from the national team last September demanding structural changes within the national team staff.
Seeing six Spanish names is logical as the 2022-2023 football season was dominated by Spanish football with FC Barcelona winning the UEFA Women’s Champions League and La Roja sealing the World Cup after superb performances in Australia and New Zealand.
Alexia Putellas, the two-time Ballon d’Or winner in 2021 and 2022 is out of this year’s race having missed most of the season recovering from her ACL injury.
Aitana Bonmati, her Barcelona and Spain teammate, introduces herself as the clear favorite to succeed Putellas in taking the Ballon d’Or back with her to Barcelona.
England, the World Cup runners-up, witnessed four of the team members shortlisted: Millie Bright, the World Cup’s Golden Glove Mary Earps, Georgia Stanway, and Rachel Daly. The latter scored 30 goals for Aston Villa in as many matches rightfully earning her place in the Lionesses’ squad.
For the USWNT who had a disappointing World Cup, the 23-year-old Sophia Smith is the sole nominee. The Portland Thorns striker finished as the National Women’s Soccer League’s MVP for the 2022 season.
Kadidiatou Diani’s nomination is no surprise. The 28-year-old new Olympique Lyonnais recruit finished the D1 Arkema as the top scorer, was chosen as the French Player of the Season, and shined for her country at the World Cup scoring four goals.
Her club and country French legend Wendie Renard sees herself back among the nominees. One of women’s football best defenders in history, Renard’s reputation precedes her.
Japan’s midfield star Yui Hasegawa features in the list alongside her teammate Hinata Miyazawa, Manchester United’s new signing, who won the World Cup’s Golden Boot after netting five goals.
The World Cup’s co-hosts Australia has two names shortlisted for the prestigious award: Hayley Raso, Real Madrid’s new player, and of course, Australia football legend and hero Sam Kerr.
The 30-name shortlist features star players and legends of women’s football. However, seeing talents such as Keira Walsh and Lauren James unnominated cannot but shock the game’s close observers.
Chelsea’s 21-year-old phenomenon starred for England at the Women’s World Cup and played a decisive role in her club’s successful domestic season contributing to the Women’s Super League and FA Cup triumphs.
Despite her performances throughout the season, France Football kept her out of the 30-player shortlist. Was the decision impacted by James’ behavior during her country’s match vs. Nigeria in which she deliberately stepped on Michelle Alozie and was handed a red card?
Keira Walsh, one of the best midfielders in the world, also sees herself out of the prestigious award’s nominees list despite helping her club, Barcelona, win the Liga F and the Women’s Champions League.
Other absences that shock are FC Barcelona and Norway’s Caroline Graham Hansen, her country’s teammate and Arsenal’s superstar Frida Maanum, and Real Madrid’s Caroline Weir.
The World Cup sure is decisive in the names’ selection. However, shouldn’t the performances of the season count more?
The Nominees By Country (Alphabetical Order)
Australia: Hayley Raso (Manchester City/Real Madrid), Sam Kerr (Chelsea).
Brazil: Debinha (Carolina Courage/Kansas City Current).
Colombia: Linda Caicedo (Real Madrid).
England: Rachel Daly (Aston Villa), Georgia Stanway (Bayern Munich), Millie Bright (Chelsea), Mary Earps (Manchester United).
France: Kadidiatou Diani (Paris Saint Germain/Olympique Lyon), Wendie Renard (Olympique Lyon).
Germany: Lena Oberdorf (Wolfsburg), Alexandra Popp (Wolfsburg).
Ireland: Katie McCabe (Arsenal).
Jamaica: Khadija Shaw (Manchester City).
Japan: Hinata Miyazawa (MyNavi Sendai/Manchester United), Yui Hasegawa (Manchester City).
Netherlands: Daphne van Domselaar (Twente/Aston Villa), Jill Roord (Wolfsburg/Manchester City).
Nigeria: Asisat Oshoala (Barcelona).
Norway: Guro Reiten (Chelsea).
Poland: Ewa Pajor (Wolfsburg).
Spain: Alba Redondo (Levante), Olga Carmona (Real Madrid), Patri Guijarro (Barcelona), Aitana Bonmati (Barcelona), Mapi Leon (Barcelona) Salma Paralluelo (Barcelona).
Sweden: Fridolina Rolfo (Barcelona), Amanda Ilestedt (Paris Saint Germain/Arsenal).
USA: Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns).
France Football magazine has given out the Ballon d’Or award to male footballers every year since 1956 and to women each year since only 2018. Ada Hegerberg, Olympique Lyon’s Norwegian forward, wrote her name in golden letters as the first female Ballon d’Or.