Who to watch out for in 2018
2017 comes to an end on a high for women’s football. We have seen some great skills from established players; we have seen some promising young footballers laying down their mark in different leagues around the world while the UEFA Women’s EURO 2017 tournament enabled us to get up close with the top talent in women football around Europe.
Indeed 2017 has strengthened women football globally and to demonstrate to that effect has been the increase in bookmakers for women leagues.
Basing on some individual performances we saw in 2017, here is our list of the top footballers to watch.
One of the oldest players on this list somehow finds her name on top of our list; this just goes to show how she has performed in the past year. Melanie turns 32 next year and in football, we say she is about to enter the twilight stage of an illustrious career full of medals.
In 2017, Behringer was instrumental in helping her club Bayern Munich maintain their proud record in securing back to back Bundesliga titles. Her 34 goals across all competitions were enough for Bayern Munich to maintain their hegemony in European football. The only downside of Behringer’ season was that she was one of the notable absentees at this summer’s UEFA Women’s EURO after she had announced her retirement from international football in 2016.
Her impressive performances in 2017 earned her a place on the FIFA Women’s Player of the Year shortlist. Behringer recently announced on Twitter that she has had to undergo knee surgery but when back to full fitness we believe she will continue with her impressive performances in the coming year with her club Bayern Munich as she brings to an end a career full of good memories including a World Cup and 2 European trophies.
At just 21, Hegerberg’s achievements are nothing but exceptional. She already has 61 international caps to her name and she broke a 20-year record by becoming the first woman to win Norway’s Golden Ball award.
In club football, she continued her good work she did in 2016 when she helped her club, Lyon win the treble, Ligue 1 title, Coupe de France,and the Champions League. Hederberg was the top scorer in the league with 33 goals, outscoring the remarkable Portuguese star, Christiano Ronaldo. She won the UEFA Best Women’s Player award.
2018 promises to be another big year for the young Norway international in her quest to become one of the greatest female footballers.
It only takes exceptional world-class goalkeepers to be recognised on the international stage and Lindahl falls right into that group. At a ripe age of 34, (some would say young for a goalkeeper), Lindahl has shown the world how good she is between the sticks.
In her first season in the English Women’s Super League, she helped her club win the league title conceding the fewest goals (10). Lindahl also helped Chelsea win the double as they won the FA Cup.
On the international stage, she was named for a record fifth time the best Swedish goalkeeper. During this time, Lindahl has played in three different World Cups, three Olympic Games and several European Championships.
Though nearing the end of a great career, Lindall will be pivotal in Chelsea’s squad as they seek to dominate the Women’s Super League.
There is arguably no bigger name in world football than Marta. She won the FIFA World’s Player of the Year award for a record five times in a row between 2006 and 2010.
In this past year, she helped her club, newly formed Orlando Pride maintain their position in the National Women’s Soccer League. Her 16 goals overall ensured that Orlando Pride kept their place in the league and placed down a marker for what is to come in the near future, at the heart of that future will indeed be Marta.
One of Canada’s most decorated footballers, Christine Sinclair will be hoping to take her impressive club and country form into the new year. Sinclair helped her club; Portland Thorns top the table after the regular season in the US claiming the National Women’s Soccer League.
Internationally, she has been the leader of Canada guiding her country to their best ever FIFA ranking 94th).
At 33, she is another footballer in the twilight of her career and as she has shown before, she will want to bow out in style starting with 2018.
No one dominated the headlines in women football in 2017 than Lieke Martens. 2017 was the year for Lieke Martens if the truth be told. She totally made the UEFA Women’s EURO a Netherlands affair with her dazzling performances. To cap off a good year and to show how brilliant she was in 2017, Martens was named the Best FIFA Women’s Player of the Year for 2017.
Martens recently joined Spanish giants Barcelona and in 2018, she will be on a mission to show the Spanish fans what she can offer.
The WSU Team bringing you news and updates from the world of women’s football.