Megan Rapinoe won the Ballon D'Or on Monday. According to her, the award was for both her football and for her off-field activism, the latter of which has seen her grow into a global icon (or a "feminazi" shill, for the less tasteful members of our society). Rapinoe has been at the forefront of the US women's team's campaign for pay equal to the men's team. She has also been active in voicing her distaste for US president Donal Trump, and has spoken extensively against misogyny.
She's spent her year using the platform she received after leading the US to another World Cup win to speak out, and that, maybe more than the football, has won her the Ballon D'Or.
In stark contrast, then, are Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the two most decorated male footballers of this generation (and ever).
The pair speak with their feet, leaving all their thoughts on the football field. They've broken record after record over the years, to the point where they own most of football's records between them. However, neither man is vocal off the pitch. They rarely, if ever, speak on anything unrelated to football or endorsements. Really, most male footballers don't use their platforms for change. Raheem Sterling is the only one in recent times who has tried to stand for more than football - with others like Danny Rose aiding their voices to Sterling's cause.
So, after winning her award, Rapinoe urged the two giants of men's football to speak, to aid her, to push for equality in the beautiful game. She requested Zlatan Ibrahimovic also to speak, being as he is, a whirlwind of personality. Their stature is such that they can face no backlash from taking a stand, she believes, and so they should be making use of the celebrity to incite change.
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