ALEXIA PUTELLAS reportedly hopes to return to the pitch before the end of this term following her knee injury blow in July.
The Barcelona star, 28, was reflecting on her recovery after becoming the first player to retain the Women’s Ballon d’Or.
Arsenal ace Beth Mead, 27, and Chelsea’s Sam Kerr, 29, came in second and third place after impressing for their clubs last term.
Meanwhile, Putellas’ Barcelona team-mate Lucy Bronze finished in tenth spot followed by Vivianne Miedema in eleventh place.
Putellas wrote her name into the history books following a standout season with her club.
The midfielder notched up 42 goals and 22 assists across all competitions last term with her team winning their seventh top-tier title in Spain.
The Barca captain, who missed this summer’s Euros due to a damaged knee ligament, was the Champions League’s highest scorer last season.
She netted 11 goals in 10 games helping her club reach the contest’s final for a second successive year.
And Putellas admits winning this year’s Ballon d’Or was a “far away” thought in her mind following the injury she sustained before the Euros.
The Barca icon told Spanish news outlet Sport: “I wouldn’t say that it was a surprise to win again.
“But when I got injured the day before playing the European Championship I didn’t think about it, I saw it far away.
“But the criteria has changed and it goes by a season and the decision has been based on that
“I was injured but they (the judging panel) have valued the rest of the season and that makes me happy.”
On her win, Putellas added: “I’m very happy to be back here.
“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.”
In March and April, Putellas scored in front of record crowds of more than 91,000 fans in Barca’s Champions League quarters and semi-final wins against Real Madrid and Wolfsburg.
In July it was announced the player would be facing a long spell on the sidelines after sustaining an anterior cruciate ligament injury on international duty with Spain.
When asked when she envisages returning to the pitch, Putellas said: “With this injury, it is difficult to determine specific deadlines, but the knee is responding well, I am evolving day by day.
“Before, all I did was think about performance and now about recovering well.
“Everything is going as the doctors think, I hope to play this season, as long as I feel good.”