Sam Kerr was the headline Chelsea representative at the 66th Ballon d’Or, which took place at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris on Monday evening and was hosted by Chelsea legend Didier Drogba, coming third in the women’s award, while her team-mate Millie Bright was also in the running and there was further recognition for Edouard Mendy and Antonio Rudiger, the latter having left Chelsea during the year.
The prestigious awards, presented by France Football magazine, are a reflection of efforts over the past 12 months, which include a Double-winning campaign for Chelsea Women as well as two international titles secured by the men’s team.
Kerr third in Women’s Ballon d’Or vote
The women’s Ballon d’Or trophy was presented by another former Chelsea striker, Andriy Shevchenko, with both Bright and Kerr in the running, although it was the Australian who came closest to providing a Blues winner, making the final five on the night before finishing third in the vote.
Kerr enjoyed an accolade-filled 2021/22 season, playing an integral role in helping Chelsea to the domestic Double, with another FA Cup triumph and a third-consecutive Barclays Women’s Super League title.
The 29-year-old took home the Golden Boot for the second year running, netting an impressive 20 goals in as many league games, plus scoring the WSL’s Goal of the Season during the title-deciding match against Manchester United.
Further individual recognition followed when Kerr was named Chelsea Women Player of the Year, PFA Player’s Player of the Year and FWA Women’s Footballer of the Year, while becoming Australia’s all-time top scorer at international level.
Bright had been included in the shortlist going into the ceremony in Paris after being an ever-present figure for club and country, consistently producing high-quality performances during a trophy-laden 2021/22 campaign at domestic and international level.
In addition to helping Chelsea secure a league and cup Double, Bright played every game for England en route to Wembley during their historic European Championship victory.
Bright’s involvement in the award ended at the shortlist stage, though, coming 15th in the voting. First place went to Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas.
Mendy makes final five for Yashin Trophy
Having finished as runner-up in last season’s vote for the best goalkeeper in European football, Edouard Mendy was once again named in the top five at tonight’s ceremony in Paris.
The Yashin Trophy is named after Soviet international Lev Yashin, who is still the only goalkeeper to ever win the Ballon d’Or, back in 1963.
Mendy was recognised for a campaign in which he helped Chelsea to success in both the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup, as well as his crucial role for Senegal in their maiden Africa Cup of Nations triumph.
The 30-year-old saved the decisive penalty in the final shoot-out against Egypt and also helped the Lions of Teranga reach this year’s World Cup in Qatar with a play-off victory over the same opponents.
He came fourth in the 2022 vote behind winner and ex-Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, now of Real Madrid.
Rudiger comes 25th in Ballon d’Or
After four Blues players finished in the top 20 of last season’s men’s Ballon d’Or, this year saw less representation but there was still a joint 25th-place finish for ex-Chelsea defender Rudiger, who departed Stamford Bridge during the year the 2022 voting was based on.
The German played every minute of our UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup triumphs in 2021/22 and was named Man of the Match in the win over Palmeiras in the final in Abu Dhabi.
He also featured in all but four of our Premier League matches and registered his highest-scoring season for the Blues, netting five in total, most notably a spectacular long-range effort against Brentford in early April. The defender made more appearances in all competitions than any other Chelsea player before departing for Real Madrid in the summer.
First place in the men’s Ballon d’Or went to Rudiger’s current Real Madrid team-mate Karim Benzema.
In the night’s other awards, Barcelona midfielder Gavi received the Kopa Trophy for the world’s best player aged under 21, Robert Lewandowski took home the Gerd Muller trophy for the top striker and the Socrates Trophy for community work went to Sadio Mane of Bayern Munich. Club of the Year went to Premier League champions Manchester City.