VAVEL UK's top 100 female footballers of 2018: 60-41

VAVEL UK's top 100 female footballers of 2018: 60-41

Starting in Germany and ending in the US, we’re back with part three

Sophie Lawson

With 100-81 and 80-61 already in the can for the week, we resume our countdown of the best 100 footballers of the year in Germany.

60. Maximiliane Rall – TSG Hoffenheim/Germany

As Jürgen Ehrmann’s Hoffenheim have climbed the Frauen-Bundesliga table, his side has evolved, the players taking a collective step up, none moreso than Maxi Rall. Having only broken into the first team last season, Rall has fast become one of the first names on the teamsheet, Used to being moved up and down the left flank, adaptable as both a fullback and a winger, the 25-year-old has had a hand in more than her fair share of goals, her performances earning her her first senior appearances last month.

59. Sara Gama – Juventus/Italy

A dependable centre-back who looks at home in any team, it’s of no surprise to see Gama walking out both Italy and Juventus, the calming presence at the back a clear organiser on the pitch. The experienced defender having flourished since moving from Brescia to Juventus and switching to a full-time training model.

58. Ellie Carpenter – Canberra United/Portland Thorns/Australia

It’s a great mark of the woman that perhaps the worst thing you can say about Ellie Carpenter is how often her age is brought up by NWSL commentators. Yes, Carpenter is still just 18 but she moves around the pitch with a composure usually associated with experience, the Australian international having slotted right into the Thorns team, carrying her form from Canberra over to the States.

57. Vivianne Miedema – Arsenal/Netherlands

Quite possibly more on fire than Will Grigg this WSL season, there is little that can stop Miedema from scoring for Arsenal. More miss than hit during her first season with the Gunners as she struggled with injury, the rangy striker has returned to her unstoppable best this campaign, spearheading Joe Montemurro’s free-scoring Arsenal. With 14 goals and seven assists in ten league matches, the only question is (as long as she stays fit) when will the Dutch striker stop?

56. Magdalena Eriksson – Chelsea/Sweden

A Swede who naturally defends like an Englishwoman, it’s of little surprise that Magda Eriksson fell right into step at Chelsea, the 25-year-old taking the step from Damallsvenskan to WSL with relative ease. An almost ever-present for the Blues in their title winning season, the defender struck up an easy partnership with her teammates, doing her bit to keep Hedvig Lindahl’s goal well protected.

55. Anna Anvegård – Växjö DFF/Sweden

Transitioning from Elitettan to Damallsvenskan without missing a beat this year, Anvegård shone in the top tier in Sweden, the young attacker terrorising defences with ease. Her top form with Vaxjo leading to her first caps with Sweden this year, the young attacker clearly a part of Peter Gerhardsson’s plans moving forward, her year capped off when she was awarded best newcomer at this year’s Fotbollsgalan

54. Hedvig Lindahl – Chelsea/Sweden

Once again the women’s goalkeeper of the year in Sweden, there are few goalkeepers left in the women’s game with as much experience at the top level as Hedvig Lindahl. The Chelsea shot-stopper one of the most versed in the nuances with the role, unquestionably one of the best between the sticks in Europe.  

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53. Lina Magull – SC Freiburg/Bayern München/Germany

Seemingly surplus to requirements during her time with Wolfsburg, Lina Magull flourished with her move to Freiburg, creating a solid partnership with Hasret Kayikçi, injuries to the pair clearly felt by SCF as their push for top two derailed earlier in the year. Earning a move to Bayern over the summer, the 24-year-old has taken to her new team with ease, an attacking midfielder who harmonises with her teammates rather than getting lost in the middle of the park.

52. Daniëlle van de Donk – Arsenal/Netherlands

Daniëlle van de Donk has managed to do what few others have this year as she has gotten better and better with each passing month. Through the up and down end of the 2017-18 season with Arsenal to the Netherland’s rocky World Cup qualification campaign, van de Donk has remained a bright spark. Spurred on by her coach at Arsenal, the diminutive midfielder has flourished over the latter part of the year like her countrywomen in London. Fully established as a key part of the Gunners’ er… arsenal, there is seemingly little that can stop the 27-year-old.

51. Aubrey Bledsoe – Sydney FC/Washington Spirit

Although things have been far from rosy for the Spirit this season, Bledsoe has impressed between the sticks, carrying her W-League form with Sydney back to the NWSL. Going as far as to set a new record for saves in a single season, the 27-year-old, whilst more likely to face shots than other ‘keepers in the league, is statistically more likely to save what she faces. Another goalkeeper who should arguably be in consideration for the national team, Bledsoe has marked herself out as one of the best shot-stoppers in the American league.  

50. Georgia Stanway – Manchester City/England

A teenager with an old head on her shoulders, Stanway has been leading the way with the England youth teams since 2014, her most recent campaign – the U20’s World Cup this summer – earning her a bronze medal to add to her rapidly growing collection. Adaptable between midfield and attack, the Lancastrian has repaid the faith shown in her by Nick Cushing, often one of the more inspired players on the pitch for City.

49. Asisat Oshoala – Dalian Quanjian/Nigeria

The Golden Girl of Africa for many, the three-time African Women’s Player of the Year, Oshoala has shown how adaptable she is, moving from Nigeria to England to China. A player who is in her element with the pitch under her feet, she remains a vital component in the Nigeria squad that will be looking to progress from a tricky World Cup group next year. A back-to-back league winner with Dalian, Oshoala will be looking to remind football fans all around the world of her talent on the ball next summer.

48. Griege Mbock Bathy – Olympique Lyonnais/France

Since her 2015 move to Lyon, Griedge Mbock has carved out a reputation for herself as one of the best centre-backs in France, the young defender unquestionably benefiting from playing and training alongside Wendie Renard. The 23-year-old well at home next to Renard, shielding Sarah Bouhaddi from intermittent attacks, both for Lyon and France.

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47. Caroline Seger – FC Rosengård/Sweden

After a handful of years in France, the Swedish midfielder returned to Malmo, not looking as sharp as once she did over last year, 2018 has seen Seger roll back the years. Quite possibly the most important member of Jonas Eidevall’s team, Seger effortlessly tied defence to attack, covering the back half of the pitch as she looked to free her teammates in the offensive half.

46. Irene Paredes – Paris Saint-Germain/Spain

Part of the steely PSG defence, Paredes possesses a keen reading of the game and a serious aerial threat. A contributor in both boxes, the centre-back is as likely to be clearing the danger from an opposition’s set piece as she is, nodding in a crucial goal for PSG or Spain. Not quite the calming presence as some of her contemporaries, the Basque defender has a knack for reducing her boil to a simmer in fractious moments.

45. Jess Fishlock – Melbourne City/Seattle Reign/Olympique Lyonnais/Wales

Well-travelled and talismanic as ever for the Reign, if Fishlock has a pause button, she has yet to use it. Bouncing back and forth between Australia and America during the regular season, the Welsh centurion opted for something different this winter, having won everything there is to be won in Oz. Offering something different in midfield, Fishlock is fast adapting to life with French giants, Lyon, the 31-year-old right at home with Europe’s elite.

44. Casey Murphy – Montpellier HSC

Making her first Champions League appearance this year at the age of 21, Murphy announced herself on the wider European stage, the young goalkeeper already having moved up to first choice in the pecking order at MHSC. Strikingly tall but still quick and agile in her box, the Jerseyite fast endeared herself to fans and commentators across France, going on to be voted as goalkeeper of the season (for her half season in Montpellier) as well as making the team of the 2017-18 season.

43. María Pilar “Mapi” León – Barcelona/Spain

Already well showing her worth with Atleti, Mapi León has only gotten better and better since moving to Barcelona. Quick off the mark to dispel any attacks launched at Sandra Paños, for both club and country, the 23-year-old seems to have an internal clock programmed by Swiss watchmakers, the defender able to time her full-blooded tackles to a tee. Her reading of the play allowing her to deploy long balls out from the defence to see her attacking teammates on their way.

42. Tabitha Chawinga – Jiangsu Suning

Another player who might have dropped off of the radar for some with her move away from a well-covered European league to an under-publicized Asian one, there is little that can slow Tabitha Chawinga down on the pitch. Still one of the most potent and single-minded attackers in women’s football, the Malawian finished the season on a high, having missed out on the league title, the 22-year-old still managed to scoop the Chinese FA Cup as well as the golden boot, seven goals clear of her nearest rival.

41. Theresa Nielsen – Seattle Reign/Melbourne City/Denmark

Having made the move from Brøndby to Vålerenga after the best part of a decade with the Copenhagen club, Nielsen proved she was still in a league below her abilities. Changing Toppserien for the NWSL, the 32-year-old has thrived in the more athletic league, the style matching up with her mentality on the pitch. A fast fan-favourite in Seattle, the Danish centurion shows little signs of slowing down, even opting to spend the American off-season playing in the W-League.