The Ballon d’Or was created to honour the best footballer, initially just from Europe but later the world, in 1956.
But it wasn’t until 2018 that France Football, the iconic publication that has handed out the award for most of its history, also created a female equivalent – the Ballon d’Or Feminin.
As the women’s game continues to grow and grow in popularity, the winners of the award have already become household names of football as a whole.
Here’s who is on the Ballon d’Or Feminin roll of honour so far.
2nd: Pernille Harder
3rd: Dzsenifer Marozsan
Lyon superstar Ada Hegerberg was a deserving first ever winner of the Ballon d’Or Feminin when she was presented with the trophy in 2018.
Hegerberg had finished the 2017/18 club season with more than 50 goals, including 15 in the Champions League. She had also started 2018/19 in blistering fashion, ensuring she stood out as the very best in 2018.
2nd: Lucy Bronze
3rd: Alex Morgan
Megan Rapinoe dominated the headlines on and off the pitch in 2019, making her voice heard in the fight for gender equality and later emerging as the star of the World Cup.
The American scored all four of her country’s goals in quarter-final and semi-final wins, as well as in the final. She finished with the World Cup trophy and with individual Golden Ball and Golden Boot prizes.
The impact of the coronavirus pandemic resulted in France Football deciding not to go ahead with the Ballon d’Or awards in 2020.
Only January and February saw matches played in normal conditions, and even once games resumed, unusual circumstances – such as playing behind closed doors – made judging on normal merits difficult. Some players also saw competitions cancelled, making comparisons unfair.
2nd Jennifer Hermoso
3rd: Sam Kerr
The 2021 Ballon d’Or Feminin was always likely to go to a Barcelona player after their outstanding treble, capped off with a phenomenal Champions League triumph.
Alexia Putellas was the heartbeat of that success and enjoyed a terrific individual year, registering an astonishing 37 goals and 27 assists. She also inherited the Barcelona captaincy ahead of 2021/22 when Vicky Losada left the club.