A telling emoticon: Tessa Wullaert responds briefly but powerfully to a new second place during the Golden Shoe


No fourth Golden Boot for Tessa Wullaert. Goalkeeper Nicky Evrard walked away on Wednesday with the prize for the best Belgian football player of the past year.

Vincent Van GenechtenBron: BELGIAN

The 29-year-old Wullaert is the record holder with three Golden Shoes. She won the first edition in 2016 and in 2018 and 2019. Janice Cayman, last year’s winner, has two (also 2017) on her mantelpiece. In 2020, the Golden Shoe went to Tine De Caigny and now the face of Belgian women’s football had to leave Nicky Evrard behind. Again she was second, but in contrast to last year (1 point) the difference was now considerable: 331 against 244 points.

Wullaert was not present in Antwerp. Last year she was and the born winner had to hide the disappointment during an interview. Now she stuck to a telling (and short) response on her Instagram page.

Last summer, Evrard exchanged AA Gent for OH Leuven, the current leader in the Lotto Super League. As a goalkeeper of the Belgian football women, she co-wrote national sports history in 2022. The Red Flames reached a historic place in the quarter-finals at the European Championship, partly thanks to 27-year-old Evrard, who saved two penalties, among other things.

Wullaert won the double with Anderlecht (title and cup), was crowned top scorer again with a street length ahead (35 goals and 18 assists), was the international primus with 17 goals and 12 assists for the Red Flames in the World Cup qualifications and was the captain at the European Championship. In the summer she switched to the Dutch Fortuna Sittard. There, Wullaert has already seven goals and nine assists. Not good enough for a fourth Golden Boot, then, again.

“That defeat is one of the biggest disappointments of my career”, Wullaert recently said in ‘Kantine’ on Playsports about the lost Golden Shoe of 2022. “That is very sensitive to me. That I already won it three times? Yes, but also lost three times. I still have room in my closet. That’s just my character, how I am. This has brought me to where I am now. I don’t think I should change my behavior or apologize for it. I always want to be the best and prove people wrong. That takes a lot of energy, but that’s what got me this far.”

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