News Matches
Ballon d'Or

Ballon d'Or Feminin 2021 Power Rankings: Can anyone stop Barcelona star Putellas?

7:00 AM EST 11/22/21
Vivianne Miedema Alexia Putellas Sam Kerr split
The race to succeed 2019 winner Megan Rapinoe is on, with the best players from around the world all vying for top spot on the podium

After the award was cancelled last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the race for the Ballon d'Or Feminin is back on in 2021.

It will be just the third time that the prize is won, having only been introduced in 2018. Lyon star Ada Hegerberg won the inaugural edition, before U.S. women's national team winger Megan Rapinoe picked the award up in 2019.

After difficult years for the two iconic teams, it is unlikely that anyone from Lyon or the USWNT has their names called out this winter, with Barcelona's incredible treble-winning season putting their stars at the forefront of the discussion.

But how much weight will the summer Olympics have? With a few of Canada's gold medallists nominated, plus some big names that always garner interest, it's difficult to predict how the voting will go.

With all that in mind, GOAL looks at how things may pan out...

  • Ellen White Ballon d'Or rankings gfx

    #20 Ellen White (Manchester City)

    Last time: NEW ENTRY

    In 2021: 25 goals, four assists.

    Ellen White was something of a surprise nomination on this list, given that Manchester City fell short of silverware in 2021, England's woes continued and Great Britain bowed out in the quarter-finals of the Olympics.

    However, none of that was down to a lack of goals from the 32-year-old, who has netted consistently all year. In fact, perhaps the moment that defines her 2021 the most was her hat-trick in that last eight clash in Tokyo, which still, somehow, ended with her on the losing side.

  • Sandra Panos Ballon d'Or rankings gfx

    #19 Sandra Panos (Barcelona)

    Last time: NEW ENTRY

    In 2021: 30 clean sheets. Won Primera Iberdrola, Copa de la Reina and Women’s Champions League.

    Sandra Panos can often be overlooked as one of the best goalkeepers around, simply due to the nature of the incredibly strong defence that protects her at Barcelona - and with the Spain national team, too.

    However, her place on this shortlist is well deserved, for the 28-year-old is an incredibly dependable shot-stopper who more than played her part in Barca's treble-win.

  • Stina Blackstenius Ballon d'Or rankings gfx

    #18 Stina Blackstenius (Hacken)

    Last time: NEW ENTRY

    In 2021: 34 goals, eight assists. Won Olympic silver.

    Stina Blackstenius is the type of player whose excellent form might have been overlooked were it not for the Olympics.

    The 25-year-old has netted a superb 31 goals this calendar year, five of which came at the Games in Tokyo and two of them coming in that mauling of the U.S. women's national team.

  • Sam Mewis Ballon d'Or rankings gfx

    #17 Sam Mewis (North Carolina Courage)

    Last time: NEW ENTRY

    In 2021: 15 goals, seven assists. Won Olympic bronze.

    Sam Mewis' 2021 has been incredibly mixed. She shone with Manchester City in the first half of the year, though they would fall short in the Champions League and the Women's Super League title race.

    She then had a less impactful Olympics with a struggling U.S. women's national team, though she did score a big goal in the quarter-finals and picked up a bronze medal.

    But Mewis has not played since winning that in August, suffering an injury that continues to keep her out of action for the North Carolina Courage.

  • Wendie Renard Ballon d'Or rankings gfx

    #16 Wendie Renard (Lyon)

    Last time: NEW ENTRY

    In 2021: 12 goals, 19 clean sheets.

    As the captain of seven-time European champions Lyon, Wendie Renard is used to lifting trophies. This year was a disappointing one for her then, as the club went without silverware for the first time in 15 years.

    Like White, the defender was a surprise name to some on this list because of that. However, she still performed well enough to earn herself some individual recognition, a place in both of the Best XIs voted for in the French league followed by this Ballon d'Or nomination.

    That she hasn't played since September, however, may hinder her when it comes to the voting.

  • Irene Paredes Ballon d'Or gfx

    #15 Irene Paredes (Barcelona)

    Last time: 16th

    In 2021: Six goals, 24 clean sheets. Won Division 1 Feminine.

    PSG’s attacking talent has absorbed a lot of the attention following their league title triumph, but the role of the defence in their success was huge, and Irene Paredes was crucial to that.

    The centre-back helped her team keep two clean sheets in the league against Lyon - results which made the biggest difference in the end - before leaving for Barcelona this summer.

    Like many defenders on this list, where she ranks in the final voting will be interesting, given the focus of these awards often falls on the attackers.

  • Christiane Endler Ballon d'Or rankings gfx

    #14 Christiane Endler (Lyon)

    Last time: NEW ENTRY

    In 2021: 21 clean sheets. Won Division 1 Feminine.

    Regarded by many as the greatest goalkeeper in the world, Christiane Endler is having an excellent 2021.

    She kept 19 clean sheets last season to help PSG win the league for the first time, helped Chile qualify for their first ever Olympics and then earned a move to seven-time European champions Lyon.

  • Pernille Harder Ballon d'Or gfx

    #13 Pernille Harder (Chelsea)

    Last time: 14th

    In 2021: 21 goals, three assists. Won Women’s Super League and Continental Cup.

    Pernille Harder swept the individual awards last year, including Goal 50, and had the Ballon d’Or not been cancelled, she almost certainly would have won that too.

    The Dane did not hit those same heights in her first season with Chelsea, adapting to a new role. But she has, in her manager, Emma Hayes', own words, looked more at home since the new season began.
  • Christine Sinclair Ballon d'Or rankings gfx

    #12 Christine Sinclair (Portland Thorns)

    Last time: NEW ENTRY

    In 2021: Nine goals, one assist. Won NWSL Challenge Cup and Olympic gold.

    This year hasn't been Christine Sinclair's most prolific, but it will be her most memorable.

    The greatest international goalscorer football has ever known, Sinclair picked up the NWSL Challenge Cup title in May, scoring in the final and converting her penalty in the decisive shootout.

    But the reason she finds herself on the shortlist for the Ballon d'Or Feminin is because of what came after that. In Japan, Sinclair captained Canada to their first ever major international title.

  • Ashley Lawrence Ballon d'Or gfx

    #11 Ashley Lawrence (PSG)

    Last time: 12th

    In 2021: One goal, 24 clean sheets. Won Division 1 Feminine and Olympic gold medal.

    Ashley Lawrence is another who has had a great year with both club and country.

    She was named in the Team of the Season in France after PSG won the league, then shone as a stand-out performer at the Olympics as Canada won gold.

    It is unlikely she will get her hands on the Ballon d’Or, but she deserves plenty of respect in the voting.

  • Marie-Antoinette Katoto Ballon d'Or gfx

    #10 Marie-Antoinette Katoto (PSG)

    Last time: 13th

    In 2021: 31 goals, five assists. Won Division 1 Feminine.

    After finishing as top scorer in the Division 1 Feminine in for the last two seasons, Marie-Antoinette Katoto was just one behind Bordeaux's Khadija Shaw - who has since joined Manchester City - this year.

    But that will not matter to the French striker, as her 21 league goals last season meant more than any before, helping Paris Saint-Germain win their first-ever league title, finally toppling Lyon in a feat that cannot be underestimated.

    That success should help her and many of her team-mates in this year's voting.

  • Jessie Fleming Ballon d'Or rankings gfx

    #9 Jessie Fleming (Chelsea)

    Last time: NEW ENTRY

    In 2021: Eight goals, five assists. Won Women’s Super League, Continental Cup and Olympic gold.

    Jessie Fleming was both a surprising inclusion and an unsurprising inclusion on the Ballon d'Or Feminin shortlist that was announced on October 8.

    The midfielder scored crucial penalties as Canada won Olympic gold in the summer and had an outstanding tournament overall. However, her five starts in Japan are equivalent to the number she made for Chelsea in the first 10 months of 2021.

    That she shone on the biggest stage of all this summer could see her shoot up the final rankings, with visibility a huge part of the voting in awards in the women's game.

  • Magda Eriksson Ballon d'Or gfx

    #8 Magdalena Eriksson (Chelsea)

    Last time: 11th

    In 2021: Four goals, 27 clean sheets. Won Women’s Super League, Continental Cup and Olympic silver medal.

    Chelsea captain Magdalena Eriksson was instrumental in the Blues' double-winning campaign last season, in which they also reached the Champions League final. She then flew to Japan to continue that fine form with Sweden, collecting an Olympic silver medal.

    With great individual and team performances defining her year to date, she could rise up the voting.

  • Kadidiatou Diani Ballon d'Or gfx

    #7 Kadidiatou Diani (PSG)

    Last time: 9th

    In 2021: 12 goals, four assists. Won Division 1 Feminine.

    Named the best player in the French league last season by her peers, Kadidiatou Diani’s name could be in the picture for more individual prizes towards the end of this year too.

    That she has bagged three goals already since the season resumed will have only raised her stock.

  • Vivianne Miedema Ballon d'Or gfx

    #6 Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal)

    Last time: 10th

    In 2021: 35 goals, 11 assists.

    It speaks volumes of how good Vivianne Miedema is that, while she did not win any titles with Arsenal or the Netherlands this past year, she still sat fourth when nominees were decided for the UEFA Women’s Player of the Year award.

    The Dutch forward has had another year of shattering records, particularly at the Olympics, and has been on fire since the new season kicked off too.

  • Lieke Martens Ballon d'Or gfx

    #5 Lieke Martens (Barcelona)

    Last time: 7th

    In 2021: 26 goals, 19 assists. Won Primera Iberdrola, Copa de la Reina and Women’s Champions League.

    After struggling with injuries in 2019-20, Lieke Martens had some to contend with last season too, but when she got on the pitch, she made it count.

    Her performance in the UWCL final will no doubt help her make up for that when it comes to voting, as it has in making her a nominee for the UEFA Women’s Player of the Year accolade.

    That she was a huge part of the Netherlands free-scoring attack at the Olympics will have an impact too.

  • Fran Kirby Ballon d'Or gfx

    #4 Fran Kirby (Chelsea)

    Last time: 6th

    In 2021: 29 goals, 24 assists. Won Women’s Super League and Continental Cup.

    There was no better player in the Women’s Super League last season than Fran Kirby. The Chelsea star thrived on a consistent basis, on big occasions and bagged tons of goals and assists.

    Injury limited her ability to contribute to Team GB’s Olympic campaign, but she should be high up on the Ballon d’Or voting list nonetheless, as she has gone into the new campaign in some form.

  • Jenni Hermoso Ballon d'Or gfx

    #3 Jennifer Hermoso (Barcelona)

    Last time: 5th

    In 2021: 42 goals, 10 assists. Won Primera Iberdrola, Copa de la Reina and Women’s Champions League.

    For the third campaign running, and fifth time in six seasons, Jennifer Hermoso was crowned the top goalscorer in Spain as Barcelona won the treble, despite being in and out of the team due to injuries.

    The 31-year-old was also the top scorer in Europe as her all-round game helped Barca enjoy an incredible season.

    However, her push for the Ballon d’Or may be slightly hindered, as she missed the first two months of the new season with an ankle injury.

  • Sam Kerr Ballon d'Or gfx

    #2 Sam Kerr (Chelsea)

    Last time: 4th

    In 2021: 40 goals, 17 assists. Won Women’s Super League and Continental Cup.

    After a sublime season for Chelsea, which saw her claim the Golden Boot in her first full WSL campaign, Kerr continued that form at the Olympics.

    Scoring six goals in six games while sporting the captain’s armband, she so nearly led Australia to a podium finish, only to lose 4-3 to the USWNT in the bronze medal match.

    Expect her to be knocking on the door of the top spots in this year’s voting, particularly after the controversial absences of Barcelona duo Caroline Graham Hansen and Aitana Bonmati.

  • Alexia Putellas Ballon d'Or rankings gfx

    #1 Alexia Putellas (Barcelona)

    Last time: 1st

    In 2021: 37 goals, 27 assists. Won Primera Iberdrola, Copa de la Reina and Women’s Champions League.

    What more is there to say about Alexia Putellas?

    The 27-year-old played a huge role in Barcelona’s treble-winning season, often wearing the captain’s armband as she contributed goals and assists aplenty throughout the year.

    Scoring from the spot in the UWCL final and named MVP in the Copa de la Reina final after netting twice, Putellas is the woman for the biggest occasion, but also a model of consistency in midfield for the Catalans.

    Should she scoop the biggest individual prize on offer this winter, it would be incredibly well deserved.