Thursday 25 November 2021, 07:00

The Best FIFA Women’s Player: nominees in focus

  • Thirteen players nominated for The Best FIFA Women’s Player 2021

  • We look at their achievements and the reasons why they have been shortlisted

  • Icons of the women’s game, they include UEFA Women’s Champions League winners and Olympic gold medallists.

From iconic players who starred at the Olympic Games to others who enjoyed stellar seasons with their clubs, including one who is looking to retain the award, the 13 nominees for The Best FIFA Women’s Player* encapsulate what has been an outstanding season in women’s football.

In presenting them to you, we highlight the recent achievements that have led to their nominations. The winner, who will be decided by your votes, will step up to collect the coveted accolade on 17 January 2022.

Stina Blackstenius

As well as helping Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC (now known as BK Hacken) win the Swedish league title, Blackstenius scored five crucial goals to fire Sweden to silver at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. After helping herself to three in the group phase, the striker found the back of the net in the quarter-finals and then put her side ahead in the final.

Did you know? Blackstenius made a significant contribution to Kopparbergs/Goteborg FC’s maiden Swedish championship win in November 2020, as a result of which she is now competing with BK Hacken in the 2021/22 UEFA Women’s Champions League.

Aitana Bonmati

Bonmati was the driving force in Barcelona’s defeat of Chelsea in the 2020/21 Women’s Champions League final, a game in which she showcased her quality with a superb goal. She was also a nominee for the competition’s Midfielder of the Season and was a key figure in her club’s treble.

Did you know? Bonmati was named Player of the Match in that 2020/21 Women’s Champions League final.

Lucy Bronze

A legend in her own right, Bronze is looking to retain the award on the back of a fine season with Manchester City, the club she rejoined after spending three seasons with Lyon. She led The Citizens from the back as they finished runners-up in the FA Women’s Super League and reached the last eight of the Women’s Champions League. The defender also represented Great Britain at Tokyo 2020.

Did you know? Bronze was the first English player and the first defender to win The Best FIFA Women’s Player award.

Magdalena Eriksson

Eriksson placed third in voting for the 2020/21 Women’s Champions League Defender of the Season, thanks to her skills and ability to play in any position at the back. Central to Chelsea’s recent successes, the Sweden international also picked up a second Olympic silver medal at Tokyo 2020 to go with the one she won at Rio 2016.

Did you know? Chelsea’s current captain, Eriksson wore the armband for the first time on 8 September 2019, the date of her 26th birthday.

Caroline Graham Hansen

The first Norwegian to play for FC Barcelona, Graham Hansen has had a big part to play in the club’s recent triumphs thanks to her gift for unsettling defences and serving up assists. A nominee for the 2020/21 Women’s Champions League Forward of the Season, the right-footed striker picked up winners medals in that competition and in the Spanish league and the Copa de la Reina.

Did you know? Graham Hansen was named in the Women’s Champions League Squad of the Season 2020/21 thanks to her three goals and five assists in nine games.

Pernille Harder

A runner-up for The Best FIFA Women’s Player 2019, Harder was in explosive form in her first season with Chelsea FC, scoring 16 goals in 34 matches, two of them coming the quarter-finals of the Women’s Champions League against her former club, Wolfsburg, where she spent four successful seasons. As well as helping her side finish runners-up in that competition, the Denmark forward made a telling contribution to their Women’s Super League and FA Cup triumphs.

Did you know? Harder’s transfer from Wolfsburg to Chelsea in summer 2020 remains the most expensive in the history of women’s football.

Jenni Hermoso

The goals keep coming for Hermoso, who is playing the best football of her career. The FC Barcelona player’s many recent achievements include being named Forward of the Season in the 2020/21 Women’s Champions League – a competition in which she was also the leading goalscorer – top-scoring in the Spanish league, and becoming the highest scorer in the history of Spain’s national women’s team.

Did you know? Hermoso became FC Barcelona’s leading all-time goalscorer in late 2020, overtaking Sonia Bermudez.

So-Yun Ji

Third in voting for the Women’s Champions League Midfielder of the Season award, Ji was a hugely influential figure for Chelsea last season. In what was her seventh season with the London club, the Korea Republic international won her fourth English title and scored what turned out to be the winner against Bayern Munich in the semi-finals of Europe’s premier club competition.

Did you know? Ji made her Korea Republic debut at the age of only 15 and has gone on to become the country’s leading scorer of all time.

Sam Kerr

Kerr arrived at Chelsea in the middle of the 2019/20 season for her first taste of European football, having spent the first 11 years of her career in her home country and the United States. The Australian forward cemented her place in the side last season, one in which she won her second Women’s Super League title, finished a runner-up in the Women’s Champions League, and captained her country to fourth place at Tokyo 2020.

Did you know? Kerr was the leading striker in the Women’s Super League last season, scoring 21 goals in 22 games.

Vivianne Miedema

The free-scoring Miedema continues to improve. Still only 25, she has had a 2021 to remember. In September, she scored her 100th goal for Arsenal – in only 110 matches – and was the leading scorer at Tokyo 2020, with ten goals in just four games for Netherlands.

Did you know? That ten-goal haul at Tokyo 2020 made Miedema the highest scorer at a single Women’s Olympic Football Tournament, easily beating the six that Christine Sinclair scored for Canada at London 2012.

Alexia Putellas

UEFA Women’s Player of the Year for 2020/21 and a winner of a Women’s Champions League, Spanish league and Copa de la Reina treble with FC Barcelona, Putellas has had an unforgettable season. Now in her tenth season with her club, she is the brains behind their domination of the domestic and European scenes and behind Spain’s continuing rise, and wears the captain’s armband for both.

Did you know? Putellas became Spain’s most capped player in the 6-0 defeat of Ukraine on 26 October this year, a game in which she scored the opening goal.

Christine Sinclair

The most decorated Canadian player in history and the highest scorer in women’s and men’s international football, Sinclair consolidated her legendary status by captaining Canada to Olympic gold at Tokyo 2020. It was her first major title for her country, following the bronze medals she won at London 2012 and Rio 2016, and the crowning moment of an international career that began in 2000.

Did you know? Along with Brazil’s Marta, Sinclair is the only player to have scored at five FIFA World Cups – women’s or men’s. It is a record she could well extend. Speaking at the end of Tokyo 2020, she refused to rule out the possibility of appearing at her sixth world finals in 2023.

Ellen White

White played a big part in Manchester City’s second place in the Women’s Super League and was a leading light for Great Britain at Tokyo 2020, scoring six goals in four matches. The year also saw her voted England Women’s Player of the Year for a third time, after 2011 and 2018.

Did you know? White is just three goals away from pulling level with Kelly Smith as the Lionesses’ leading goalscorer of all time.

* This shortlist contains more candidates, in accordance with article 5 of the Rules of Allocation.