Samba Gold 2021 is coming – award brings news and launches women’s football category
The Samba Gold is a traditional award created by Sambafoot and which annually consecrates, since 2008, the best Brazilian player playing in Europe. But, starting in 2021, two changes increase the award’s importance even more.
The first is that, from now on, the trophy will be given to the best Brazilian on the field outside Brazil, regardless of the continent in which he plays in. Thirty names compete for the title. Proof of the evolution of women’s football this year is the Samba Gold Women’s debut.
As with the men’s, the selection of the best Brazilian player takes into account the athlete’s statistics, role, achievements and overall impact on her club from January 1st to the end of the year. After the competing superstars are selected, a poll will be made available on Sambafoot.com on December 15th. Delivery of the prize to the winner will be announced later on the website.
Women’s football has been growing significantly in recent times. International transfers of this modality have increased considerably. According to a FIFA report released in February, women’s clubs invested US$310,000 in the January 2021 transfer window, against US$193,600 in the same period in 2020 – 60% growth.
Growth of women’s football in Brazil
The year 2019 can be considered as the kick-off for the uninterrupted growth of women’s football in Brazil in recent years. It is mostly because of the rules imposed by South American football institutions alongside the hosting of the Women’s World Cup.
In January 2019, a rule of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) and the South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) came into effect, which in practice required all clubs in the first division of the Brazilian Championship and Copa Libertadores to create football teams feminine. In order to participate in the men’s Brasileirão and Libertadores, clubs would also need to have a women’s team in operation.
If there was distrust regarding the ability of clubs to generate income from women’s football, the 2019 World Cup served to allay any fears. That year’s World Cup was the most watched edition in history, breaking audience records around the world.
In Brazil, the national team’s games in the group stage of the competition increased the average number of spectators in the morning on Rede Globo by 90%. Afterwards, in the round of 16, the channel reached 30.4 rating points, numbers that are hardly seen outside of prime time television.
According to FIFA data, more than 1 billion viewers followed the edition on TV or through other digital platforms – an increase of 30% compared to the previous edition – and, of course, Brazilian viewers had a significant share in this number.
That same year, the consolidation of interest in the sport in the country was even more evident in the final of the Brasileirão Women between Corinthians and Palmeiras, in September. The title conquered by Timão set a record for TV Band, which had the highest audience in the history of the competition, with an average of 5 points. SporTV ranked second overall in viewers among all pay TV channels.
And it didn’t stop there: according to Casa de Apostas, a company in the sports betting business, there was a 100% increase in the number of people interested in betting on the women’s final compared to the 2020 decision.
With all of this, soccer women – who have been gaining more prominence and, deservedly, recognition – could not be left out of the award created by Sambafoot.
Samba Gold Award Winners
The first winner in the history of the men’s award was the former midfielder Kaká, in 2008, when he was a star for Milan, from Italy. Neymar took the trophy home on four occasions – 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2020 – becoming the biggest Samba Gold winner. In the first two years the ace represented the colors of Barcelona, from Spain, while in the last two he was already with PSG, from France, where he currently plays.
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So, who will be the first big winner of the Samba Gold Women 2021 award, and who will join the winning stars so far?
Stay tuned on the Sambafoot website in the coming weeks so you don’t miss the start of the voting on December 15th and find out which great players in women’s football will compete for this traditional award.