Barcelona captain Alexia Putellas has retained the Women’s Ballon d’Or, awarded to the best female footballer of 2022.
The midfielder, 28, who won the award last year, suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury in the summer and missed Spain’s Euro 2022 campaign.
Before her injury, Putellas was the Champions League top scorer for Barca last season with 11 goals in 10 games.
Arsenal striker Beth Mead was second, with Chelsea forward Sam Kerr in third.
England’s Mead was named Euros 2022’s best player after winning the Golden Boot, given to the tournament’s top scorer, as the Lionesses secured their first major trophy with a 2-1 victory over Germany at Wembley.
Mead’s international team-mates Lucy Bronze and Millie Bright were also nominated, with Barcelona defender Bronze finishing in 10th place and Chelsea centre-back Bright coming 15th.
Putellas faces a long lay-off of up to a year after suffering her injury in training on the eve of the Euros, and said her recovery is going well, “but it’s certainly not a battle that is won just yet”.
She captained Barca to a domestic treble during the 2021-22 season, claiming the Spanish league title for the third season in a row. Her side won all 30 league matches, with Putellas scoring 18 goals and registering 15 assists.
She twice played and scored in front of record-breaking crowds of more than 90,000 fans at the Nou Camp in Champions League quarter-final and semi-final victories and although she did score in the final, the Catalan club were denied a second consecutive title, losing 3-1 to French side Lyon.
“I’m very happy to be back here,” said Putellas on her back-to-back Ballon d’Or wins. “A year ago I was able to win this prize and it pushed me to want to get even better.
“Without my team-mates this wouldn’t have been possible. I want to thank the technical staff and the coach as well. And to thank everyone involved at the club off the pitch.”