Why Jenni Hermoso deserves to win the 2021 Ballon d'Or Féminin
Jenni Hermoso has long been a legend of Spanish women's football. With her senior career dating back to 2004, she has played in three different countries and has won major titles with three of Spain's biggest women's clubs. The most important destination of her career has been in FC Barcelona, where she is currently playing her 8th season.
Jenni has done big things everywhere she's been, but her second spell at FC Barcelona has been where she's made a name for herself on an international level. In 2021, she set multiple historic records for both club and country and was Barcelona's top scorer in both the league and the Champions League as they won the continental treble for the first time in their history.
Jenni Hermoso's season was defined mostly by the records she broke. Within the past 2020-21 season, Hermoso became the all-time top scorer for Spain's women's team, the all-time top-scorer for FCB Femení, the winner of the most Pichichi titles in the Primera División, and the first Spaniard and first Barcelona player to finish a Women's Champions League season as top scorer.
The first of these records that were broken was the all-time top scorer for FC Barcelona Femení. In December of 2020, Barcelona played Santa Teresa and Jenni scored 4 goals to break Sonia Bermúdez's record of 123 scored with the club. Next was her record with the Spanish national team, where she scored 5 goals against Azerbaijan to surpass Spain legend Vero Boquete as Spain's all-time top-scorer with 41. She then kicked off the 2021 calendar year by scoring Barcelona's 3rd goal in the postponed 2019-20 Copa de la Reina final, earning her third Copa de la Reina title.
She made her most noticeable impact in the Champions League, where she scored in both the quarterfinals and the semifinals. Against Manchester City, she made her return from injury and scored Barcelona's 3rd goal in a 3-0 rout of the English club. That goal helped Barcelona advance to the semifinals with a 4-2 aggregate score where they went on to face Jenni's former club PSG. She scored the first goal of the tie, a header from an Aitana Bonmatí assist, which rescued a valuable away goal.
When Barcelona advanced to the final with a 3-2 aggregate score, she started her first Champions League final against Chelsea. In that match, she was fouled to create a penalty kick which Alexia converted, and also recorded a pre-assist to Alexia's pass towards Aitana Bonmatí to score Barcelona's third goal. At the end of it all, she ended her Champions League season as the joint top-scorer, tied with Chelsea's Fran Kirby with 6 goals. She was the first Spaniard and the first FC Barcelona player to achieve this. At the end of the season, she was a finalist for the UEFA Women's Player of the Year and won the award for UEFA Women's Champions League Forward of the Season.
Jenni continued her blistering scoring form in the league and closed out her season as a leader for the Pichichi trophy, the trophy given to the top scorer in the Spanish league. Her biggest rival for the trophy was Levante’s Esther González, who she went back and forth with the entire season. At the end of the season on the very last matchday, with Esther sitting with 29 goals and Jenni with 28, Jenni scored a hat trick to claim her fifth and 3rd-consecutive Pichichi title. Her fifth title broke the record of four for Sonia Bermúdez, one of the greatest Spanish strikers of all time. Jenni was also the top scorer of Europe’s top 5 women's leagues (Spain, England, France, Germany, Sweden) for the second year in a row.
In the summer, Jenni regained her #10 after Kheira Hamraoui's departure. She marked the occasion with a two-goal game and an MVP performance against Juventus in the first inaugural Joan Gamper Trophy. After that she suffered from a months-long injury, but came back and in no time was once again one of Barcelona's top scorers. She already has 7 goals from 6 league games and 2 goals from 3 Champions League appearances.
Jenni was already a historic figure in Spanish women's football, but this year she had the numbers to prove it. Aside from becoming the top scorer of her national team and the top scorer of Spain's most successful women's club, she was one of Barcelona's most impactful players on their way to winning their first Champions League title, their seventh Copa de la Reina title, and their sixth league title.