As the voting for the BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year 2023 is now open; we look at the 5 nominees below to see who is the most deserving of the award this year.
Aitana Bonmati – Spain / Barcelona – MidfielderEmbed from Getty Images
Going on trophies alone – there are none more deserving than Aitana Bonmati.
A graduate from the hallowed Barcelona academy “La Masia”, the Spanish midfielder has finished the 2022-23 season as a Liga F winner (Spain’s top-flight women’s league), a Champions League winner and a World Cup winner. She also picked up personal awards with the Golden Ball (Best Payer) at the World Cup and UEFA Women’s Player of the Year.
She has the classic Barcelona DNA, with her deft passing, creativity and vision, she has been likened to Andrés Iniesta – the epitome and the essence of the club.
Fridolina Rolfo – Spain / Barcelona – Fullback / ForwardEmbed from Getty Images
The second Barcelona player on the list, Rolfo therefore mirrors Bonmati’s domestic success with winner’s medals for both Liga F and the Champions League.
With her national side, Sweden, she also picked up a bronze medal at the World Cup as they ended up losing to Spain in the Semis.
A natural forward player, but one of those special types of players, that at the elite level can perform in two roles, she also played a lot of the 22/23 season as a left-back for Barca.
Alexandra Popp – Germany / Wolfsburg – ForwardEmbed from Getty Images
Moving away from Barcelona now, but keeping with a former teammate of Rolfo is Alexandra Popp.
National success was not to be in the cards for Popp last season, with Germany being eliminated in the group stages of the World Cup. Yet, rather impressively, Popp still managed 4 goals in 3 games. Which is only a single goal away from the tournament’s Golden Boot winner, Hinata Miyazawa.
With her domestic team, Vfl Wolfsburg, she managed to bag 16 goals in the Frauen-Bundesliga, netting her the top goalscorer award. This wasn’t quite enough to propel her team to league victory, coming in 2nd place, 2 points behind winners Bayern Munich.
A similar story in the Champions League, where she narrowly missed out on a winner’s medal. A goal in the final for Popp, but in the end the Barcelona team made up of Rolfo and Bonmati amongst others was too strong.
Wolfsburg did end victorious in the German Cup though, easily beating Freiburg 4-1 in the final. Another goal in a final for Popp to add to her tally, taking her total to 5 in the competition and sealing the top goalscorer award.
Sam Kerr – Australia / Chelsea – ForwardEmbed from Getty Images
Scoring 28 goals in 38 games across all competitions, Kerr spurred her Chelsea side to another Women’s Super League and FA Cup double.
Her goal against Manchester United in the FA Cup final was the sole goal of the game – once again proving just how paramount her firepower is to her team.
Another sign of her natural goalscoring ability was her nomination into the Puskas awards, for her equaliser against England in the World Cup semi-finals. Unfortunately, this was her only highlight of the tournament, after sitting on the bench with an injury until the quarter-finals.
Named as the Football Writer’s Association women’s footballer of the year and part of the Professional Footballer’s Association Team of the Season, Kerr deserves her place in this list.
Mary Earps – England / Manchester United – GoalkeeperEmbed from Getty Images
Mary Queen of Stops, as she has become known, and for good reason.
FIFA Best Goalkeeper, England Player of the Year, Golden Gloves for both the Women’s Super League and World Cup and also UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 Winner. Earps has had a dominant 22/23 season between the sticks. Will she add the BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year to that list?
Her 14 clean sheets for Manchester United last season was a new record for the league.
Considering Earps was considering retirement in 2019 after a two-year spell away from the England setup – her rise to become FIFA Best Goalkeeper is nothing short of an inspiration.
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🤩 The nominees for BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year 2023 are…— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) October 24, 2023
📱 Voting closes at 09:00 GMT on Friday, 3 November.
Vote and T&Cs here: https://t.co/pki4mT3Dy0 pic.twitter.com/m7cNOqdYgo