Sam Kerr misses out again on FIFA Best women's prize

Sam Kerr's brilliant season for club and country has not been enough to earn the Matildas' captain a place in the final three contenders for the FIFA Best Women's Player of the year award.

But Jenni Hermoso, Spain's World Cup winner who had to endure the infamous unwanted post-final kiss on the lips from an official in Sydney that caused shockwaves throughout soccer, has been listed along with teammate Aitana Bonmati for the big prize.

For the equivalent men's award, holder and serial winner LioneI Messi will line up against Manchester City's goal machine Erling Haaland and Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe for the governing body's major annual award.

Chelsea striker Kerr, runner-up in October's voting for the Ballon d'Or Feminin - recognised as the most prestigious individual honour in the game - had also been expected to contend again after being on the 16-woman longlist for the FIFA Best title.

Kerr's fellow Matildas Mary Fowler and Caitlin Foord had also been on that list, but none of the Australians made Thursday's final shortlist of Bonmati, Hermoso, and young Colombian star Linda Caicedo.

Kerr had a sensational year for Chelsea, helping shoot them to an FA Cup and Women's Super League double, while also overcoming injury woes to help Australia to the World Cup semi-finals, where she scored the goal of the tournament against England.

But once again the 30-year-old Aussie superstar, third in the voting for this award in 2021, has missed out, having also been in the top-three in the last three editions of the Ballon d'Or Feminin.

Kerr's strike against England, which had also been longlisted as one of the contenders for the Puskas Award as Best Goal, also didn't make the final three, with dazzling efforts from Brighton's Julio Encisco, Novorizontino's Guilherme Madruga and Sporting's Nuno Santos getting the nod instead.

Hermoso, whose kiss from the then head of the Spanish FA Luis Rubiales sparked outrage following Spain's win over England in the World Cup final, is likely to be ousted for the award by Bonmati, a runaway winner of the Ballon d'Or Feminin.

The same three men who featured in the 2022 final trio will again battle for the 2023 prize, with the winner to be announced at a ceremony in London in January.

With Messi honoured last year after his World Cup heroics with Argentina, it's thought that perhaps Haaland's standout season, helping City win a Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup treble, could fire him to the accolade this time.

Messi and Mbappe won the French league with PSG before Messi joined Inter Miami and prompted a new wave of enthusiasm for Major League Soccer in the US when he starred in their Leagues Cup victory.

It means the only Australian up for an award in January will be Mackenzie Arnold as the Best Women's Goalkeeper.

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