Why Abby Wambach Deserved the Ballon D'Or
While the rest of the world was focused on Lionel Messi claiming his fourth straight Ballon d'Or in men's football, Americans celebrated as their star forwards finished 1-2 in the voting for the women's Ballon d'Or, with Abby Wambach beating out Alex Morgan and Brazilian forward Marta for the honor.
The award could have gone to either Wambach or Morgan, but Wambach is truly deserving of the award.
With her performance in 2012, there was nobody that could stand in her way of finally winning the award at 32 years old. Here is why she was the rightful winner in 2012.
United States Won Olympic Gold
Julian Finney/Getty Images
After the heartbreak of the 2011 World Cup Final, anyone involved with or who supports the United States wanted nothing more than to avenge their loss at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
With five goals from Wambach, the Americans claimed Olympic gold once again.
So, while the World Cup drought enters its 14th year in 2013, Americans are able to feel some solace in the fact that Wambach and the Yanks claimed gold for their country.
The United States does not win gold without Wambach. Carli Lloyd was the hero in the gold-medal match, but Wambach's five goals created the momentum to get the Americans into the final.
It was about time for Wambach. Generally in World Cup and Olympic years, the winner has come from the champion, which is why Marta and Birgit Prinz have dominated this award. In 2008, Wambach broke her leg in the game before the Olympics.
The United States won gold, but no one felt that an American stood out enough.
Wambach stood out in 2012.
Wambach vs. Morgan: The Two Best, but Morgan's Time Will Come
Friedemann Vogel/Getty Images
Alex Morgan will win multiple World Player of the Year awards. I am 100 percent confident in that statement.
In 2012, Morgan scored 27 goals, one more than Wambach. The two were absolutely unstoppable.
The reason the edge goes to Wambach is that she is the player who rallies the Americans. She may not wear the captain's armband, but she is the leader, especially for Morgan.
Morgan's career took flight in 2011, when she impressed at the World Cup and became the American sweetheart. She is in the same position Wambach was in earlier in her career, which is playing second fiddle in the attack and learning from a legend, like Wambach did with Mia Hamm.
Wambach had never won this award, finishing third once, so it is about time she claimed the award. Morgan's time will come, but for 2012, Wambach deserves the title.
She Really Is the Best
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Abby Wambach is the best women's footballer in the world. There's no denying that.
Marta is not the player she once was. She is still phenomenal, but Wambach is still playing at a level that puts her on pace to challenge Mia Hamm for the title of best American ever.
With her late-game heroics, ability to finish from anywhere and her leadership, the United States relies on her to be their hero and she always delivers.
Morgan had more goals, but look at what Wambach does for the United States. She is the face of women's soccer in the United States and is always in the right place at the right time on the field. Her teammates rely on her and she has captured the hearts of every fan in America.
That's not to say Alex Morgan has not done so, but Wambach is the face of football in America and is overall the best player in the world.