Christine Sinclair one of three Canadians up for Ballon d'Or award

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Canadians Christine Sinclair, Ashley Lawrence and Jessie Fleming are up for the Ballon d'Or, presented to the world's top soccer player.

Sinclair (Portland Thorns), the world's all-time leading goal-scorer with 187, captained Canada to the Olympic gold this summer in Japan. Lawrence (Paris Saint-Germain) and Fleming (Chelsea) were also part of that champion team.

"Very happy and grateful" to be nominated, Lawrence said on social media.

"Long overdue recognition," Canadian striker Janine Beckie said via Twitter of the Canadian nominees.

"It's about damn time Canadians get some respect on the international stage," added Canadian goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé. "Gold medal helped but these three have been phenomenal for the last few years."

Awarded by France Football magazine, the Ballon d'Or has been given out since 1956 when Stanley Matthews won. The magazine started its women's award in 2018.

The awards were not given out last year due to the pandemic.

The 30-player men's short list is highlighted by Argentina's Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain) and Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United).

Messi has won the award six times and Ronaldo five times.

The other players on the 20-woman shortlist are Stina Blackstenius (Sweden), Kadidiatou Diani (France), Christiane Endler (Chile), Magdalena Eriksonn (Sweden), Pernille Harder (Denmark), Jennifer Hermoso (Spain), Marie-Antoinette Katoto (France), Sam Kerr (Australia), Fran Kirby (England), Lieke Martens (the Netherlands), Samantha Mewis (U.S.), Vivianne Miedema (the Netherlands), Sandra Panos (Spain), Irene Paredes (Spain), Alexia Putellas (Spain), Wendie Renard (France) and Ellen White (England).

The men's short list also features Cesar Azpilicueta (Spain), Nicolo Barella (Italy), Karim Benzema (France), Leonardo Bonucci (Italy), Giorgio Chiellini (Italy), Gianluigi Donnarumma (Italy), Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium), Ruben Dias (Portugal), Bruno Fernandes (Portugal), Phil Foden (England), Erling Haaland (Norway), Jorginho (Italy), Harry Kane (England), Ngolo Kante (France), Simon Kjaer (Denmark), Robert Lewandowski (Poland), Romelu Lukaku (Belgium), Kylian Mbappe (France), Gerard Moreno (Spain), Mason Mount (England), Riyad Mahrez (Algeria), Lautaro Martinez (Argentina); Luka Modric (Croatia), Neymar (Brazil), Pedri (Spain), Mohamed Salah (Egypt), Raheem Sterling (England) and Luis Suarez (Uruguay).

The winners will be announced Nov. 29. Some 180 journalists from around the world will vote on the men's award while 50 journalists who specialize in women's football will decide the women's winner.

Messi and American Megan Rapinoe won the awards in 2019.

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Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 8, 2021.

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

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