Harder Stronger: Wolfsburg Forward Edges Hegerberg, Henry for UEFA Player of the Year

Ada Hegerberg and Amandine Henry will have to settle for just their UEFA Champions League winners’ medals this year.  The Lyon duo finished second and third respectively in the voting for UEFA Women’s Player of the Year, while VfL Wolfsburg forward Pernille Harder took home the prize.  The award was announced today in Monaco at the conclusion of the UEFA Champions League group stage draw.

Hegerberg’s record-breaking tally of Champions League goals wasn’t enough to take home the prize, as she finished second in the voting.  Hegerberg scored 15 goals in 9 Champions League matches, on top of the additional 31 she marked in D1 Féminine last year.  Hegerberg UWCL

Hegerberg previously took home Player of the Year honors in 2016, after a year in which scored 60 goals in 40 games for club and country.

Henry rounds out the podium after a year in which she took over as French national team captain, won the NWSL title with the Portland Thorns, and returned to Lyon to pick up two more trophies.  With the World Cup around the corner, Henry’s been sure to show her leadership for France on the pitch, scoring 4 goals in 10 games since taking over for Renard as captain.Henry UWCL

The midfielder has made a significant impact for Lyon, too, since her return from Portland—never moreso than when her equalizer in the Champions League final turned the match around, and sent Lyon on their way to victory.  Henry previously finished as runner-up in Player of the Year voting in 2016.

Harder will be happy to take home this year’s award after finishing as runner-up in Player of the Year voting a year ago.  The Denmark captain scored 17 goals in 21 appearances for the German champions in the Frauen-Bundesliga last season, and has recorded 5 goals and 3 assists for Denmark in World Cup Qualifying action thus far. Harder UWCL 2

Lyon fans will recall that Harder opened the scoring in the UEFA Champions League final this year.  Her shot from distance early in extra time took a slight deflection off Wendie Renard’s leg, sending it past the outstretched arms of Lyon keeper Sarah Bouhaddi and into the back of the net.  Harder’s elation was short-lived, though, as she watched Lyon score the next four, and les Fenottes denied Wolfsburg the trophy.

Five of Hegerberg and Henry’s Lyon teammates also finished in the top 10 for this year’s award: Dzsenifer Marozsan (4th); Lucy Bronze (5th); Wendie Renard (7th); Eugénie Le Sommer (9th); and Shanice van de Sanden (10th).

Follow Arianna on Twitter @AScavs.

[All photos via Maya Mans]

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