Megan Rapinoe wins 2019 FIFA Women Award ahead of Lucy Bronze and Alex Morgan


Megan Rapinoe won the women’s player award – ahead of fellow American Alex Morgan and England’s Lucy Bronze – at the Best Fifa Football Awards in Milan.

Rapinoe, 34, claimed the Golden Ball for being the best player at the 2019 Women’s World Cup as she helped the United States win the competition.

Lyon right-back Bronze, 27, was named in the women’s team of the year – the only English player to feature.

Rapinoe’s international boss, Jill Ellis, took the women’s coach award.

The 53-year-old, who also guided the United States to the World Cup trophy in 2015, announced in July that she will be stepping down as the national coach in October.

The other managers to be nominated were the Netherlands’ Sarina Wiegman, whose side lost 2-0 in the final to the United States, and England’s Phil Neville, who guided the Lionesses to fourth place.

Rapinoe scored six times during the Women’s World Cup, including the opener in the final, and has also been a leading personality in the fight for equality in sport.

Before the final, she accused Fifa, football’s governing body, of not showing women’s football enough respect as the game was played on the same date as the men’s Copa America and Gold Cup finals.

Rapinoe has also called for the United States women’s team to be paid the same as their male counterparts.

The US co-captain, who is gay, also encouraged her victorious United States team not to meet President Donald Trump as she said his administration “doesn’t feel the same way and fight for the same things we fight for”.

In a powerful speech when collecting her award from Fifa president Gianni Infantino, Rapinoe highlighted the racism, homophobia and inequalities that she said still exist in football.

She said: “Some of the stories that inspired me this year are [Manchester City forward] Raheem Sterling and [Napoli defender] Kalidou Koulibaly – their incredible performances on the field and their reaction to the disgusting racism they have to face, this year but probably for their whole lives.

“I feel like if we really want to have meaningful change, what I think is most inspiring would be if everybody other than Sterling and Koulibaly were as outraged about racism as they were.

“If everybody was as outraged about homophobia as the LGBTQ players, if everybody was as outraged about equal pay or the lack thereof, or the lack of investment in the women’s game, other than just women, that would be the most inspiring thing to me.

“We have such an incredible opportunity being professional footballers, so much success, an incredible platform.

“I ask everyone here, lend your platform to other people, share your success. We have a unique opportunity to use this game to actually change the world for better. I hope you take that to heart, do something, we have incredible power in this room.”

Before handing the award to Rapinoe, Infantino himself said more would be done to stop racism in football. He said: “This is not acceptable. We have to say this. We have to say no to racism.

“In whatever form, no to racism in football, no to racism in society. But we can’t just say it, we must fight it, kick it out of football and society once and for all.”

Rapinoe, who plays for Reign FC in the National Women’s Soccer League, added: “Jill Ellis and the rest have put us in a great position. This was an incredible year for women’s football. For those who just noticed you are a bit late to the party. It truly was incredible to be part of the World Cup – the enthusiasm we had was amazing.”

Fifa Fifpro Women’s Team of the Year
Netherlands’ Sari van Veenendaal, who plays for Atletico Madrid after moving from Arsenal in July, won the best women’s goalkeeper award, ahead of Chile’s Christiane Endler and Sweden’s Hedvig Lindahl.

Van Veenendaal was the only player from last season’s Women’s Premier League to be included in the Fifa Fifpro Women’s Team of the Year, while European champions Lyon were represented by three players – Bronze, Wendie Renard and Amandine Henry.

Americans Kelley O’Hara, Julie Ertz and Rose Lavelle joined Rapinoe and Morgan in the 11, while Brazilian Marta, who scored the 17th World Cup goal of her career in the summer – a record in men’s or women’s football – was also selected.


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