Matildas captain Sam Kerr has been awarded second place for Best Women’s Player of the Year at this year’s Best FIFA Football Awards, also becoming the first Australian player to make the top 3.
The Chelsea striker placed runner-up to Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas, with another Spanish midfielder, Jenni Hermoso, placing third.
Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich and Poland won the men’s award ahead of Lionel Messi and Mo Salah.
The awards, which were held on 17 January, did not see The Australian captain attend as she is currently in India with the Maltidas team preparing for the Asian Cup.
The women’s player of the year category required all women’s national team coaches, international captains, and selected media to vote. Kerr herself voted for Putellas, while Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson voted for Kerr, who ended up polling 38 points, 14 behind Putellas, with Hermoso polling 33.
Kerr honoured Putellas with a mention on her Instagram stories for the victorious win, along with Chelsea coach Emma Hayes, who was named best women’s manager. Chelsea swept the coaching awards this year with coaches Thomas Tuchel and Emma Hayes, leading their men’s and women’s teams to their respective Champions League finals.
Despite being voted the second best women’s player in the world for 2021, Kerr was overlooked for a spot in the FIFPRO women’s world XI. This was not the only shock exclusion, as winner Putellas along with second runner up Hermoso, also missed the selection. The FIFA Best World XI has since been wildly criticised by high-profile female footballers in defence of the players who were left from the list.