Alexia Putellas pipped two Barcelona colleagues to win the 2020/21 UEFA Women's Player of the Year award.
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Barcelona and Spain midfielder Alexia Putellas has won the 2020/21 UEFA Women's Player of the Year award.
Putellas, who lifted the UEFA Women’s Champions League trophy in May as Barcelona captain, finished ahead of club-mates Jenni Hermoso, also a Spain player, and Lieke Martens, the 2016/17 winner, in the voting, conducted by a panel of leading coaches and journalists. The result was announced during the 2021/22 UEFA Champions League draw ceremony in Istanbul.
The 27-year-old, the first player from either Barcelona or Spain to claim the award, was also named UEFA Women's Champions League Midfielder of the Season.
In a video-recorded message, Putellas said: “I am very happy to receive the UEFA Player of the Year Award. Firstly, I would like to thank my teammates and the whole team who made it possible for us to have such a successful season.
“I would also like to mention the rest of the nominees, particularly Lieke and Jenni, with whom I am sharing this podium. At the end of the day, it is the entire team, the entire club which has won this [award]. It is such an achievement that so many Barça players are nominated for these awards.
“I’d also like to thank the fans for all of the love they’ve shown me. Let’s go for more! Thank you very much.”
The top ten
1 Alexia Putellas (Barcelona & Spain) – 50 points
2 Jenni Hermoso (Barcelona & Spain) – 42 points
3 Lieke Martens (Barcelona & Netherlands) – 40 points
4 Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal & Netherlands) – 32 points
5 Aitana Bonmatí (Barcelona & Spain) – 29 points
6 Caroline Graham Hansen (Barcelona & Norway) – 28 points
7 Sam Kerr (Chelsea & Australia) – 18 points
= Fran Kirby (Chelsea & England/Great Britain) – 18 points
9 Pernille Harder (Chelsea & Denmark) – 17 points
10 Irene Paredes (Paris Saint-German & Spain, now Barcelona) – 11 points
Why did Alexia Putellas win the award?
The engine in Barça's midfield, whether on the left, as a playmaker or asked to be a marauding forward. The team's leader, she scored a penalty to make it 2-0 in the UEFA Women’s Champions League final against Chelsea and set up the third in the 4-0 win in Gothenburg despite having been an injury doubt. She was named in the Squad of the Season for a second time in three years.
A Barcelona fan as a girl and formerly in the academy, she signed for the club in 2012 and this January netted the first competitive goal by a woman at Camp Nou in a win against old club Espanyol. She also struck twice in the Copa de la Reina final. In April, Putellas joined Irene Paredes and Hermoso in Spain's captaincy group as she helped them to UEFA Women's EURO 2022 qualification. She is also closing in on Marta Torrejón's Spain record of 90 caps.
It is the first time Putellas has finished in the top ten of the voting. The only Barcelona player before this year to make the top ten was Martens but for 2020/21 they have filled five of the first six places. The only Spanish player to reach the top ten prior to this season was Verónica Boquete in 2012/13, 2013/14 and 2014/15.
Roll of honour
2020/21 – Alexia Putellas (Barcelona & Spain)
2019/20 ─ Pernille Harder (Wolfsburg & Denmark)
2018/19 ─ Lucy Bronze (Lyon & England)
2017/18 ─ Pernille Harder (Wolfsburg & Denmark)
2016/17 ─ Lieke Martens (Rosengård & Netherlands)
2015/16 ─ Ada Hegerberg (Lyon & Norway)
2014/15─ Célia Šašić (FFC Frankfurt & Germany)
2013/14 ─ Nadine Kessler (Wolfsburg & Germany)
2012/13 ─ Nadine Angerer (FFC Frankfurt & Germany)
How the award works
The UEFA Women's Player of the Year prize recognises the best players, irrespective of nationality, who played for a club within the territory of a UEFA member association during the past season. Players are judged on performances in all club and national-team competitions.
The jury comprised the coaches of the clubs that participated in the 2020/21 UEFA Women's Champions League round of 16 and 20 journalists specialising in women's football and selected by the ESM group. Jury members chose their top three players, with the first receiving five points, the second three and the third one. The coaches were not allowed to vote for players from their own teams.
The other awards
UEFA Women's Champions League Goalkeeper of the Season: Sandra Paños (Barcelona)
UEFA Women's Champions League Defender of the Season: Irene Paredes (Barcelona)
UEFA Women's Champions League Midfielder of the Season: Alexia Putellas (Barcelona)
UEFA Women's Champions League Forward of the Season: Jenni Hermoso (Barcelona)
UEFA Champions League Goalkeeper of the Season: Edouard Mendy (Chelsea)
UEFA Champions League Defender of the Season: Rúben Dias (Man. City)
UEFA Champions League Men's Midfielder of the Season: N'Golo Kanté (Chelsea)
UEFA Champions League Men's Forward of the Season: Erling Haaland (Dortmund)