Steph Catley has claimed Sam Kerr was unforunate to miss out on the Ballon d'Or award with the Matildas star winning the women's Asian player of the year trophy only a day later. Kerr made history for Australian football after finishing second in the award for best player in the world, the highest finish for a female or male in the prestigious awards ceremony.
The Aussie finished behind Spanish World Cup-winning star Aitana Bonmati in the votes. This comes as Kerr spent most of the World Cup at home on the sideline having suffered a calf injury leading into the tournament.
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However, Kerr came to life in the semi-final loss against England as she scored arguably the goal of the tournament in the defeat. And on Wednesday, she has been rewarded for her stellar season at Chelsea and her international influence having won the Asian women's player of the year for the second time.
She becomes just the third women to claim the award more than once with the ceremony being held for the first time since 2019. Kerr's Ballon d'Or near miss follows the Matildas captain also finishing second to Bonmati in the recent UEFA player of the year voting.
The Matildas forward helped lead Chelsea to both the women's FA Cup and Super League 'double' in England. She scored 29 goals in all competitions, before adding another in the World Cup semi-final.
In another near-miss for an award, Kerr finished runner-up behind Rachel Daly in the Professional Footballers' Association player of the year awards in England. And fellow Matildas teammate Steph Catley feels the Matildas forward has been unfortunate not to be recognised as officially the best player in the world after a strong few seasons.
"It's been tough. She has probably been the most consistent, best player in the world over the last, however, many years," Catley said to reporters. "She is always up there, two or three, she is getting closer and closer. I am sure she will grab one at some stage.
"But you look at the year Bonmati has had as well. And you have got to respect she has won, probably nearly everything you possibly can, but I would like to see Sammy win one."
Australia was well represented at the continental awards, with Kerr's international teammate Mary Fowler in the running for women's youth player of the year, and Socceroos pair Graham Arnold (men's coach) and Mathew Leckie (men's player) making the top three in their respective categories.
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Kerr was easily the standout performer in the Asian women's talent having won the golden boot for her seven-goal haul at the 2022 Asian Cup in India. "I just want to say what an amazing honour it is to win this award," Kerr said in a video message, after finishing ahead of Zhang Linyang and Saki Kumagai.
"It has been an amazing year for me and my team and I just want to thank all my teammates, my coaches, my family and friends." There were few people arguing Bonmati deserved the women's Ballon d'Or award, despite the disappointment of Kerr's second-place finish.
Bonmati also starred as Barcelona won the Champions League last season. She was one of four members of the victorious Spanish team to feature among the 30 nominees for the Ballon d'Or, with Alba Redondo, Salma Paralluelo and Olga Carmona, who scored the winner in the final, all shortlisted too.
“We are a country that lives football, intensely,” Bonmati said. “We have a unique talent in Spain.”
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