Sam Kerr has been ruled out of the Paris 2024 Olympics. GETTY IMAGES

Australia and Chelsea striker Sam Kerr has been officially ruled out of the 2024 Paris Olympics due to her recovery from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear.

The 30-year-old sustained her injury during a Chelsea training camp in January. While announcing the squad for Australia's pre-Olympics friendlies, Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson stated that Kerr would not be able to return in time for the Games in July.

Kerr, widely regarded as Australia's biggest sports icon, holds the record as the nation's all-time leading goalscorer. She joins a growing list of high-profile female footballers, such as England captain Leah Williamson and Dutch striker Vivianne Miedema, who have suffered ACL injuries. Recovery from such injuries typically takes at least nine months for professional athletes following surgery.

"Attacker Amy Sayer (ACL) and forward Sam Kerr (ACL) remain on the sidelines with long-term injuries," the squad announcement read. "Kerr and Sayer will continue their rehabilitation programs in their home club environments and subsequently will not be available for selection for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games."

The Matildas have faced a challenging lead-up to the Olympics, with multiple key players sidelined due to injuries. Midfielder Katrina Gorry has been recovering from ankle surgery, defender Clare Hunt has been dealing with a foot fracture, and veteran Aivi Luik is sidelined with a hamstring injury. Additionally, young midfielder Amy Sayer tore her ACL last month and has been ruled out of the Olympics.

Sam Kerr will be absent from the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympics due to injury. GETTY IMAGES
Sam Kerr will be absent from the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympics due to injury. GETTY IMAGES

Ahead of the send-off matches against China, Gustavsson noted that selecting the 18-player Olympic squad has become a complex task, with several hopefuls racing against time to regain fitness. "This window will be a tough one for me and my staff in terms of evaluating players, where they are, and then the final selection process for Paris," the Aussie boss said.

Kerr was anticipated to be a crucial part of the Matildas' medal campaign in Paris, following their near-podium finish at the previous Olympics in Tokyo and the World Cup in Australia last year. Since joining Chelsea in 2020, Kerr has secured five consecutive Women's Super League titles, three Women's FA Cups, two Women's League Cups, and the Women's Community Shield.

She has netted 99 goals for Chelsea and an additional 64 for Australia. She has also been nominated for the Ballon d'Or Feminin, the highest accolade in women's football, every year since its inception in 2018. However, the past 12 months have been challenging for Kerr. 

Kerr spent much of the home World Cup sidelined with a calf strain and, shortly after her ACL injury, was charged in January with racially aggravated harassment of a London police officer, to which she has pleaded not guilty. She is expected to face trial in February 2025.