Lyon striker and 2018 Ballon d'Or winner Ada Hegerberg is the leading name on a five-strong shortlist for the 2019 BBC Women's Footballer of the Year award, an annual prize voted for by fans to recognise the best female player of the last 12 months.

Already a superstar in the women's game, the prolific Hegerberg shot to global fame in December when she became the first winner of the newly created Women's Ballon d'Or.


The 23-year-old Norwegian, who has previously scooped one BBC award already in 2017, is joined on this year's all-star shortlist by Wolfsburg and Denmark forward Pernille Harder, as well as Lyon teammate and Japan defender Saki Kumagai.

Chicago Red Stars and Australia forward Sam Kerr and Portland Thorns and USA midfielder Lindsey Horan (pictured below) also make the final list of five.


England's Lucy Bronze, winner of the award in 2018, does not make the cut. There is also no place for Brazil icon Marta, despite being named Best Women's Player by FIFA in September.

Voting is now open on the BBC website and will remain so until Thursday 2 May at 9am (BST).

The winner will then be announced around three weeks later on Wednesday 22 May.

Of the five nominees, all of whom have shone at club level, only Kumagai, Kerr and Horan are set to appear at this summer's eagerly anticipated Women's World Cup in France.

Hegerberg called time on her international career with Norway in 2017 and has resisted calls to reverse her decision. Harder's Denmark, meanwhile, failed to qualify after losing a two-legged playoff semi-final against reigning European champions Netherlands.