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Kerr third in Ballon d'Or behind Barca duo, Messi wins seventh as CR7 fumes at 'lies'

Photo by Getty Images
29th November, 2021
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Matildas and Chelsea striker Sam Kerr has placed third in the prestigious women’s Ballon d’Or award while Lionel Messi won a record seventh men’s award.

The Australia captain was only behind Spain and Barcelona stars Alexia Putellas and Jenni Hermoso in the voting.

Kerr scored 21 goals in the English Women’s Super League to land the Golden Boot and then six for Australia at the Tokyo Games – and has maintained her excellent this season with 13 goals in 12 games this season.

The Matildas captain has been rewarded for her goalscoring prowess over the year which has seen her win the Golden Boot as the top scorer in England’s Women’s Super League with Chelsea while also continuing to prove a totem for the Australian national team at the Olympics.

Putellas won the top prize for the first time after an outstanding season for club and country.

The 27-year-old midfielder helped Barca win the treble and scored 26 goals in 42 games overall.

She netted in the Champions League final against Kerr’s Chelsea, and in August she was named UEFA women’s player of the year.

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“I’m very emotional, it’s a very special moment,” she said at the Paris ceremony through a translator.

“I would like to start by thanking all my teammates, especially my current (Barcelona) teammates. For me it’s a collective success.”

The only previous women’s award winners are Norway striker Ada Hegerberg in 2018, and US forward Megan Rapinoe in 2019.

The 2020 awards were cancelled because the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the season.

Paris Saint-Germain superstar Messi won a record-extending seventh title.

Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski, who was considered his main rival, had to settle for the award as best striker after a Bundesliga record 41 goals in just 29 games last season to better the record set by the late Gerd Mueller.

Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo dismissed claims from a French journalist that his main aim is to finish his career with more Ballon d’Or wins than Lionel Messi.

The Manchester United forward has collected the award five times, two behind Messi.

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Earlier this week, Pascal Ferre, the editor in chief of France Football – organisers of the Ballon d’Or – said Ronaldo had told him that his primary ambition was to retire having won the accolade more times than rival star Messi.

“Today’s outcome explains Pascal Ferre’s statements last week, when he said that I confided in him that my only ambition was to finish my career with more Ballon d’Ors than Lionel Messi,” Portugal international Ronaldo posted on Instagram.

“Pascal Ferre lied, he used my name to promote himself and to promote the publication he works for.

“It is unacceptable that the person responsible for awarding such a prestigious prize could lie in this way, in absolute disrespect for someone who has always respected France Football and the Ballon d’Or.

“The biggest ambition of my career is to win national and international titles for the clubs I represent and for the national team in my country.

“The biggest ambition of my career is to be a good example for all those who are or want to be professional footballers. The biggest ambition of my career is to leave my name written in golden letters in the history of world football.”

Ronaldo was absent from Tuesday’s event in the French capital.

The 36-year-old, who was a second-half substitute in his club’s 1-1 Premier League draw at Chelsea on Sunday afternoon, also hit back at claims that his non-attendance was due to quarantine, while dismissing any suggestions of poor sportsmanship.

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“And he (Ferre) lied again today, justifying my absence from the gala with an alleged quarantine that has no reason to exist,” continued the player’s Instagram post.

“I always want to congratulate those who win, within the sportsmanship and fair play that have guided my career since the beginning, and I do it because I’m never against anyone.

“I always win for myself and for the clubs I represent, I win for myself and for those who love me. I don’t win against anyone.”

© AAP

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