No I’m not writing about Lionel Messi’s 4th consecutive Ballon d’Or because that is just boring. I am talking about the much more hotly-contested award, the one several talented athletes had a real shot at, and which was won by USA striker Abby Wambach. I am a big fan of Brazil’s Marta (below), who has won it several times in the past (5 in a row), but this year I think she wasn’t quite at her best and I was hoping they would give the award to one of the many other amazing players we have seen over the last 12 months.
So much talent
When I was thinking about this award earlier in the year I thought it would be between Marta (obviously), the USA’s Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Abby Wambach as well as Japan’s Homare Sawa and Canada’s goal machine Christine Sinclair. So I have to admit I was more than surprised when Megan Rapinoe ranked 10th when the positions were announced, she was the player of the Olympics for me but congrats to her, I’m sure she’s delighted for her teammate and friend Abby.
Let’s take a moment to congratulate one of the world’s great football managers , Pia Sundhage (obviously over the moon in the pic below), for her win in the coaching category, if she hadn’t have won it would have been a travesty, and that’s with all due respect to the likes of Japan’s Norio Sasaki. Pia is out and proud and accomplished a great deal with the USA before heading back to coach her home county, Sweden, after winner her second Olympics with the USA.
In winning her first, well overdue Ballon d’Or, Abby follows in the footsteps of other great US players, not least of which the incredible Mia Hamm (swoon) and when your name is on a list along with Ms Hamm you know you have made it to the very top. Mia scored a record 158 international goals in her career but I think Wambach will take that crown too, she is currently sitting pretty on 152.
Big and deserved congratulations to both Abby and Pia for their awards and many thanks for representing the sport I love with such distinction and humility.