England full-back Lucy Bronze has admitted that she doesn’t ‘deserve’ to be nominated for the 2022 Ballon d’Or Feminin and insists that former Manchester City teammate Keira Walsh should have been the first Lionesses star on the shortlist – but she was nominated at all.
Bronze, Millie Bright and Beth Mead were the only England players to feature on the 20-strong shortlist, which takes into account performances over the course of the whole 2021/22 season, culminating in Euro 2022 last month.
Walsh was named in UEFA’s team of the tournament for Euro 2022 and had performed well in the WSL for Manchester City, who recovered an injury-plagued start of the season to finish third and secure Champions League qualification.
Bronze, in contrast, missed around half of the club season and, while she contributed to England’s success this summer, was not necessarily a standout performer.
Having finished second in the Ballon d’Or in 2019 and later winner of the Best FIFA Women’s Player in 2020, Bronze is a bigger name than most in the women’s game. She also completed a high profile club switch to Barcelona shortly before Euro 2022.
By her own admission, the 30-year-old probably wasn’t worthy of being nominated for the Ballon d’Or this time around.
After the shortlist was released, Bronze took to social media: “Thanks but I don’t deserve this. The best Lionesses player all year and during the Euros was Keira Walsh. She should be the first English name on the list.”
Other England players also shared their bemusement at Walsh’s omission. City teammate Alex Greenwood tweeted, “How isn’t Keira Walsh on this list”, while fellow sky blue Ellie Roebuck said, “No Keira Walsh, I don’t understand.”