Matildas Kerr, Raso in shake-up for Ballon d'Or award

Sam Kerr features again in the list of nominees for soccer's main individual prize, the Ballon d'Or, after another spectacular year for club and country - and she's joined by her Matildas teammate Hayley Raso.

The Australian pair are among the 30-strong list to lift the Ballon d'Or Feminin, with Kerr in the frame after winning the English League and Cup double at Chelsea and leading her country to the semi-final of the World Cup in an injury-hit, but still briefly spectacular, campaign.

It was no surprise to see her name up in lights once again but newly-signed Real Madrid winger Raso's appearance in the list after a fine World Cup herself came a little from left field despite the Manchester City player's excellence in the green and gold.

In the lists unveiled on Wednesday, serial winner Lionel Messi again looks hot favourite to pick up the men's Ballon d'Or for a record-extending eighth time following his own World Cup heroics, less than a year after being omitted from the nomination list.

Kerr has finished third in the Ballon d'Or voting in each of the last two years and has a chance of once again finishing on the podium as one of the world's top three players after another dazzling season which was capped by her thunderous semi-final goal against England.

But the main award looks sure to go to one of the victorious Spanish World Cup team, with the hot favourite being Aitana Bonmati, who last week was named the UEFA women’s player of the year.

She is one of six female nominees from Spain, but her compatriot, two-time winner and holder Alexia Putellas, is not on the list after missing much of last year with a serious knee injury.

Kerr's England teammate Millie Bright joins her on the list, while the men's 'Golden Ball' is likely to go to Messi, currently wowing a new audience in Major League Soccer with Inter Miami.

His masterful work in leading Argentina to the World Cup title in December seems sure to earn him the nod ahead of players like Erling Haaland, who's one of seven Manchster City players on the men's list, and Kylian Mbappe.

But there's no place for Cristiano Ronaldo, a five-time winner now playing for Al-Nassr in Saudi Arabia, for the first time in two decades.

The winner will be announced in Paris on October 30.

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