Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas becomes first woman to win award twice

Barcelona midfielder Alexia Putellas has won the Ballon d’Or Feminin for the second year in a row, becoming the first woman to win the award twice since its inception in 2018.

Putellas, 28, was named the world’s best player at Monday’s gala in Paris despite having been sidelined since June with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

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She finished ahead of Arsenal’s Beth Mead and Chelsea’s Sam Kerr, who finished second and third respectively.

“It wouldn’t have been possible without my teammates,” said Putellas after receiving the award. “I want to thank the staff, the coach and everyone involved at Barcelona.

“I’m very happy to be back and satisfied because a year ago I was able to win this award and it pushed me to want to do even better.”

Before her injury in the summer, Putellas captained Barcelona to their third straight La Liga title. The Catalan side made history by winning all 30 league games in the 2021-22 season.

She also guided Barcelona to success in the Spanish Super Cup and Copa de la Reina to complete a domestic treble, although they fell short in the Champions League.

Putellas’ goal in the final wasn’t enough to stop French club Lyon from beating Barcelona 3-1 in Turin.

However, after scoring 11 Champions League goals, more than any other player in the competition, Putellas was later named UEFA Women’s Player of the Year ahead of Mead and Lena Oberdorf.

In addition to those 11 goals in Europe, she scored 18 league goals from midfield, four in the Copa de la Reina and one in the Super Cup.

Putellas had hoped Spain would find success in the summer but she tore her left cruciate ligament while training with the national team ahead of the European Championships in England.

She hasn’t played since and is expected to be out for a few more months.

Last year Putellas became the first Spanish woman to win a Ballon d’Or since Luis Suarez in 1960. She was also named FIFA’s best player.

The Ballon d’Or Feminin was created in 2018 when it was won by Lyon’s Ada Hegerberg. Megan Rapinoe won it the following year before being suspended in 2020 due to the pandemic. Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas becomes first woman to win award twice

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