While Megan Rapinoe is the leading candidate for the second ever women’s Ballon D’Or, the holder of the men’s award, Luka Modric, and the world’s most expensive player, Neymar, missed out as France Football unveiled the nominees on Monday.
Rapinoe dominated the Women’s World Cup, on and off the field, in the summer.
She was joint top scorer and was voted player of the tournament as she led the United States to victory in France in July.
The 34-year-old Reign FC playmaker, already a campaigner for LGBT rights and gender equality, made headlines during the tournament by publicly taking on US President Donald Trump.
In the men’s category, last year Modric, fresh from guiding Croatia to a World Cup final, broke the 11-year Cristiano Ronaldo-Lionel Messi, who are both included, stranglehold on the award.
Messi has just collected the FIFA Best award, as did Rapinoe, which split from the Ballon D’Or in 2016.