Sam Kerr and Hayley Ruso nominated for Women’s Ballon d’Or

Noah Strang
By:
Noah Strang
07/09/2023
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Sam Kerr and Hayley Ruso on Women’s Ballon d’Or shortlist

Australia’s Sam Kerr and Hayley Ruso have made the Women’s Ballon d’Or shortlist. The 30-player list was announced on Wednesday. 

News Insights

  • Russo and Kerr nominated for Ballon d’Or
  • It is the first time in history two Aussies have been nominated.
  • Kerr has made the shortlist four previous times.
  • Neither player is expected to win the prestigious award.

France Football magazine announced on Wednesday its 30-player shortlist for both the men’s and women’s Ballon d’Or awards. To no one’s surprise, the Matilda’s Sam Kerr was nominated for the prestigious award. Her international teammate Hayley Raso is also on the award shortlist. 

Kerr nominated again

Compared to the men’s award, which was first awarded back in 1956, the Women’s Ballon d’Or has very little history. The Women’s Ballon d’Or was first awarded in 2018. Australian Sam Kerr is one of just two players to have been nominated for every edition of the Women’s Ballon d’or so far. 

Not only has Kerr been nominated for the award every year, she has also finished in the top ten in each Ballon d’Or vote she has been nominated for. Kerr placed third in both the 2021 and 2022 editions, but has never won. 

Sam Kerr’s injuries kept her sidelined for much of the Women’s World Cup, but she is still very much deserving of this nomination. The 29-year-old scored 29 goals in all competitions for Chelsea last season. She was the WSL’s top goalscorer and led Chelsea to the WSL title. 

Raso’s World Cup exploits rewarded

Australia’s Hayley Raso was one of the more surprising names included on the 2023 Ballon d’Or shortlist.

The Palm Beach SC and Canberra United product had an alright season for Manchester City in the FA Women’s Super League, but her performances often fell short of what we would normally expect from such a player. The player most Raso fans know and love showed up at the World Cup, which might explain the 28-year-old’s inclusion on the Ballon d’Or shortlist. 

Raso started every match for the Matilda’s at the Women’s World Cup. The right midfielder scored two of Australia’s four goals in the Matilda’s surprising 4-0 demolition of Canada in the Group Stage. Raso also scored a goal against Denmark in the Round of 16.

Raso’s nomination for her World Cup efforts makes her the second Australian ever to be nominated for the Ballon d’Or. The 2023 Ballon d’Or is the first edition where two Aussies have been nominated in the same year. 

Raso joined Real Madrid this July and could likely be among the best players in the world again this time next year following her fresh start.

Spain’s Bonmatí the big favourite

As exciting as it is to have two Aussies nominated, neither are likely to win the Ballon d’Or. Unfortunately, most betting sites are not offering Women’s Ballon d’Or odds at this time. Even without odds to confirm this, it is safe to say that Spain’s Aitana Bonmatí is the huge favourite to win this award. 

The 25-year-old Barcelona midfielder was just named by UEFA as the UEFA Women's Player of the Year last week for her efforts with her club team last season. Bonmatí scored 19 goals and had 21 assists in all competitions for Barcelona last season. Bonmatí was also the winner of the FIFA Women's World Cup Golden Ball at this summer’s World Cup. 

In addition to individual awards and accomplishments, Bonmatí achieved great things with her teams this season. Her Barcelona side were victorious at home and abroad last year, winning a European treble. Of course, Bonmatí’s Spain team were named champions after winning the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand this summer. 

Even though it is unlikely either of them win, Sam Kerr and Hayley Raso’s nomination for the Women’s Ballon d’Or is the perfect way to cap off the summer of soccer and support for women’s sport Australia experienced this year with the Women’s World Cup.