USA star Megan Rapinoe won the Ballon d’Or 2019! Horray! But…
Was this actually a surprise?
After winning FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year in September, Megan Rapinoe won France Football’s second-ever women’s Ballon d’Or on Monday. Ada Hegerberg was the first-ever woman to be awarded a Ballon d’Or last year, but her decision to miss this summer’s World Cup as a form of protest for pay inequality in Norway, diminished her chances of repeating last year’s win – finishing 4th – despite her hat-trick against FC Barcelona in the Champions League final, which earned her the record of the tournament’s all-time scorer.
But, on the other side, what Rapinoe did this year was uncomparable: The 34-year-old World Cup champion beat out stars such as England’s Lucy Bronze (2nd place) and Ellen White, Vivianne Miedema from the Netherlands, Australia’s Sam Kerr and USWNT teammates Alex Morgan (3rd place), Rose Lavelle and Tobin Heath.
The USA captain played an integral role in helping her country retain the World Cup in France last summer, winning both the Golden Ball and the Golden Boot in the process.
Unfortunately, she wasn’t on the awards to receive the title personally, however, she sent a very funny message via video: “I’ll do my best to get there next year.”
Lucy Bronze, who ended up just behind the USA super-star said: “We have the best players in the world at Lyon. We tried our best at the World Cup and you can see the future of women’s football.
“And Ada Hegerberg, who won the award last year, finished in fourth place.”
Yet, this has clearly been a memorable year for Rapinoe; not only on the football side but also on her tremendous ability to advocate for issues outside the pitch and use her platform to speak up against social injustice.
Some examples are her nod to Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly’s stances on racism, Iran’s “Blue Girl” Sahar Khodayari, the gay footballer Collin Martin, female LGBTQ footballers and the battle for equal pay was coupled with a call to arms, a challenge for their voices not to be the lone voice. In 2019, Rapinoe has discovered how best to use her voice to amplify those of others.
That’s why it is no surprise she has won the award this year; and if this continues, who knows… She might get 6 like Messi one day. Congratulations, Megan!