Ranking the BBC women's footballer of the year nominees
Once again, the most outstanding female footballer in the world is about to be recognized. The BBC are bestowing the honour this time. The UK’s topmost media house has published a five-player shortlist for the 2018 Women's Footballer of the Year. For the fourth successive year, fans of women’s football from around the world will get the chance to vote for their favourite player.
Five different countries and four leagues are represented. England’s Lucy Bronze is the only defender, while Sam Kerr is the only one nominee not in the 2017 FIFPro World XI. The winner will be revealed on 22nd May. Voting continues until the eighth.
According to the Beeb, a panel of football connoisseurs from around the world, including journalists, coaches, and players contributed to the nomination process. They’ve done their job. However, it’s my turn to rank the contenders and tell you who gets my vote.
5. Dzsenifer Marozsan - Germany/Olympique Lyonnais
An extraordinary midfielder and captain of the German national team, Dzsenifer Marozsan deservedly finds herself in this brilliant company. The 25-year-old shone in 2017. She’s carried over that form to 2018. The accolades have poured in. After playing a vital role in Lyon’s 2016/17 treble haul of Champions League, French Division 1, and French Cup, she was rewarded with a place in the Division 1 team of the season. The reigning German footballer of the Year also scored in the final match to help Germany to the gold medal at Rio 2016.
Marozsan has shown an enviable understanding of what it takes to be a number 10. She's brazen, attack-minded, and tough, with the tactical nous to bring it all together.
4. Sam Kerr - Australia/Chicago Red Stars
The record scorer in the National Women's Soccer League in the United States, Sam Kerr has shown everyone why she’s a venerable poacher. She has made 43 trademark backflips after goals. The 24-year-old struck 28 times in 40 appearances for Sky Blue FC before transferring to Chicago Red Stars. Last year she won the NWSL golden boot and was awarded the NWSL Most Valuable Player of the Year.
The Aussie is also the reigning Asian footballer of the Year.
3. Pernille Harder - Denmark/Wolfsburg
Last year, Harder scored six Bundesliga goals for Wolfsburg. Those were miserly compared to the 24 goals she had scored to help Linköping win the Danish League. Her sub-par return was just enough to win Wolfsburg the Bundesliga and the German Cup. After leading Denmark to the final of Euro 2017, the 25-year-old was named Danish Footballer of the Year for the third consecutive year.
Having notched 14 goals in 15 games, Harder is the Bundesliga's top sniper this season. Her team tops the Bundesliga and has a foothold in the Champions League final.
2. Lieke Martens - Netherlands/Barcelona
We won’t forget in a hurry what Lieke Martens did at Euro 2017. The fantastic Barca striker emerged the tournament’s best player. She scored three goals including one in the final for l'Oranje. At 25, she already has 38 goals for her country and is FIFA women’s player of the year for 2017. Martens' popularity has swelled within the year. It won't be a surprise if she scoops the award.
1. Lucy Bronze - England/Olympique Lyonnais
The former Manchester City woman leads a shortlist of players whose job is to make hers difficult. That occurs rarely. Very rarely.
She’s earned the right to be considered the favourite. Her goal in the final won Manchester City the FA cup last season. Her commanding performances fetched her the PFA Player of the Year award and a move to the best women’s team in the world, Lyon.
It's kind of overwhelming to be nominated because I think about the people that have been nominated in the past couple of years and it's people who stand out internationally. It's a huge honour to be nominated.
My vote goes to Lucy Bronze. Her leadership qualities, winning mentality, determination, and the strength she showed to return from a one-year injury layoff to get into a list like this are just too much to resist.