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The other Ballon d’Or: Abby, Nadine or Marta?


Text by Stéphanie TROUILLARD

Latest update : 2014-01-13

With the FIFA Ballon d’Or, one of the most prestigious awards in football, to be announced Monday, there has been much ado over Cristiano Ronaldo, Franck Ribéry and Lionel Messi. Less talked about, however, are the nominees for the women’s title.

American forward Abby Wambach (pictured right), German goalkeeper Nadine Angerer (pictured left) and Brazilian forward Marta Vieira da Silva (centre), who is simply known as “Marta,” are all contenders for this year’s best world player award. Though often overshadowed by their male counterparts, the three women have led sterling careers, scooping up an impressive number of honours and records along the way.

Wambach, who won the 2012 Ballon d’Or, is favoured to take home the award again this year. The 33 year-old has had a beautiful 2013 season, scoring 11 goals in 19 matches. A native of Rochester, New York, Wambach moved closer to home to play with the Western New York Flash for its inaugural season, leading the team to the finals of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), which it ultimately lost 2-0 to the Portland Thorns.

Already a celebrity at home, Wambach made history on June 20 when she struck four goals against South Korea while playing for the US Women’s National Team to become the leading goal scorer in women’s international football. She is also a two-time Olympic gold medalist, having played for the US in both the 2004 and 2012 Games.

Angerer or ‘Pelé in skirts’?

Yet Wambach’s status as reigning Ballon d’Or holder could be threatened by Angerer. Goalkeeper for Germany’s Mannschaft, Angerer, 35, has proven herself over the past year to be one of the world’s best players. She was largely credited with leading her team to a 1-0 victory over Norway at the Euro 2013 finals after saving two penalties. The amazing feat did not go unnoticed, and the UEFA named Angerer best player of the tournament. She has also played for two winning World Cup teams.

Although Marta has already won the title of FIFA’s best women’s player five consecutive times (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010), last year was not her most impressive season. Despite her reputation as the “Pelé in skirts,” Marta’s Swedish club Tyreso, only made it to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony in the Swiss city of Zurich Monday evening.

Date created : 2014-01-13


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