Sam Kerr snubbed by Fifa again as Marta wins sixth gong

Guardian sport on 25 September 2018

Matildas striker Sam Kerr has been overlooked by Fifa for a second year running, with Brazilian legend Marta picking up the women’s player of the year award in London on Monday night.

An undisputed great of the game, Marta is a previous five-time winner, being voted the world’s best female footballer in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010.

But it’s been Sam Kerr’s performances in the US-based National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), widely regarded the strongest domestic league in women’s football, that has turned heads recently, with the Australian winning back-to-back Golden Boot awards as the competition’s top goalscorer, as well as being voted the league’s most valuable player in 2017.

The West Australian was named alongside US legend Megan Rapinoe and her compatriot Crystal Dunn in the NWSL team of the year in 2018, with Marta not included.

Kerr finished 9th from a shortlist of 10, with Marta receiving 14.73% of the vote, edging out Germany’s Dzsenifer Maroszán (12.86%) and Norway’s Ada Hegerberg (12.60%), with the 25-year-old Australia receiving just 6.78% of a jury made up from national team captains, coaches and selected media representatives.

Curiously, Marta herself voted for Sam Kerr, with USA’s Carli Lloyd voting Kerr second behind compatriot Rapinoe, who finished fourth overall.

The Brazilian great appeared surprised, and emotional upon hearing she’d won the award, gasping “Oh my god”, before beginning her acceptance speech in Portuguese.

Several prominent media analysts of women’s football expressed their surprise at the result.

Meanwhile, on the domestic front, two more Matildas have signed for Melbourne City, as the reigning W-League champions chase a fourth consecutive title, with former Brisbane Roar duo Elise Kellond-Knight and Tameka Butt announced by the club on Monday.

Kellond-Knight, 28, hasn’t played in the W-League since 2015, having spent the last three summers with 1.FFC Turbine Potsdam in Germany and Hammarby in Sweden.

They are handy signings for new head coach Rado Vidosic, who takes over the reins of City’s women’s football operations from Patrick Kisnorbo this season.

City have 12 players confirmed for the upcoming season, including returning Matildas Steph Catley and Kyah Simon, plus new recruits Helen Caceres (Western Sydney) and Adriana Jones (Adelaide) but will be without Welsh star Jess Fishlock.

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