Alexia Putellas is celebrating a second consecutive honor…
The 29-year-old Spanish professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Barcelona has been crowned FIFA‘s The Best Women’s Player for the second year in a row, seeing off competition from Beth Mead and Alex Morgan for the award.
Putellas claimed the prize at a ceremony in Paris on Monday, with Paris Saint-Germain forward Lionel Messi taking the men’s award.
The Barca midfielder becomes the first woman to win the accolade twice since it launched in 2016, with Carli Lloyd, Lieke Martens, Marta, Megan Rapinoe and Lucy Bronze all one-time winners.
She also became the first woman to win the Ballon d’Or Feminin twice in October 2022, finishing ahead of Mead and Sam Kerr.
The Best Women’s Coach award went to Sarina Wiegman, who led England to the title at the Women’s European Championship, and Mary Earps, who played in net for the Lionesses at the tournament, picked up Best Goalkeeper honors.
Putellas has not played since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her knee while on Spain duty in July. FIFA’s award only takes into account last season.
“The accolade recognizes the most outstanding performers in the women’s game from the period of Aug. 7 2021 to July 31 2022,” the organization said.
During that time, Putellas captained Barca to a third successive Primera Division title. The Catalan side made history by winning all 30 of their league games throughout the 2021-22 campaign.
She also led the Blaugrana to success in the Spanish Super Cup and the Copa de la Reina to complete a domestic treble, although they came up short in the Champions League. Putellas’ goal in the final — her 11th in the competition last season — was not enough to stop French side Lyon from beating Barcelona 3-1 in Turin.
There was hope that success with Spain would follow at the European Championship in England, but she was ruled out of the tournament after injuring her ACL in training just days before La Roja‘s first game.
She has not played since, but Barca recently published a video of her doing some work with a ball on the training pitch, hinting that she could return to action before the end of the season.
Arsenal forward Mead, who starred as England won the Euros and is also sidelined with an ACL injury. She joined San Diego Wave‘s Morgan on the final shortlist and finished behind Putellas.
Mead won the Golden Boot and player of the tournament at Euro 2022 last summer, while Morgan was the National Women’s Soccer League‘s leading scorer with 15 goals in just 17 appearances.
Morgan also scored the winner as the United States beat Canada in the 2022 CONCACAF W Championship final — a competition in which she finished as joint-top scorer and player of the tournament — as she became the 13th USWNT player to pass 200 caps.