1. Lieke Martens

Whilst just two points separated our top two last year, it was two points that stopped the gap reaching a mighty 300 in 2017, such was the impact Lieke Martens made this year.

Stepping out of the shadows of Marta in Sweden with FC Rosengård, Martens ended the Damallsvenskan season with eight goals, impressive when you consider she moved clubs halfway through the year.

A move to one of the biggest clubs in the world might have been the cherry on top of the icing on top of the cake for Martens, it was Euro 2017 where the 25-year-old won herself all the awards going this year.

Not many rated the Netherlands as favourites for Euro 2017, despite being hosts, but Martens played a key role in history being made this summer.

Her silky skills and outright quality ensured she walked away with three goals, one coming in the quarter-final against Sweden and another coming in the final against Denmark, a perfect low finish from the edge of the box which summed up her tournament.

Unsurprisingly, her performances saw her named in Team of the Tournament, but more was to come. Martens was announced as UEFA Player of the Year and winner of FIFA’s Best award in London earlier this year.

On top of it all, Martens joined the FC Barcelona revolution in the summer and has wasted no time in settling into life in Spain, helping the Spaniards to end the year top of the league and awaiting a Champions League quarter-final against defending champions Lyon.

All in all, a sensational year for Martens and a more than deserving #1.

Fran Sanchez Bas, FC Barcelona manager says:

“Lieke has had a great year and will be a really important player for us. She is a great in one on one situations and her pass completion is excellent.”

Loes Geurts, former Netherlands team mate says:

“Lieke has grown quickly to an absolute world star on the pitch. Outside the football field she is a very good person, very humble. The past years she has taken the right steps in becoming the incredible football player she is today. But be aware, she is not even at her top level yet!”

Jack Majgaard Jensen, former FC Rosengård manager says:

 

“Lieke is one of the best players you could go to work with, she wants to develop herself. She’s fast, has good skills and is a great dribbler. She has a really good shot, with either foot, she could do a lot of things.

 

“She was a different player to Marta, Lieke could do all those things but she didn’t trust herself so much, she always thought other players were better. We worked with her and she went off and won the Euro’s with the Netherlands, she’s become one of the best players in the world.”

 

Ella Masar, former team mate says:

 

“The best part about Lieke is not about the world finally seeing her talent, it has been seeing her develop over the last two years. She has always had her raw talent, obut there are not many women, if any, that can dribble at a defender with that pace and with such control.

 

“Plus to have the ability to hit the ball with so much power and precision. I have been around the game a long time and have never seen someone do what makes Lieke great. The goals that she scored in the Euros were simply the ones that she has practiced hours and hours. The best part of it all is that she is just getting started!”

 

Anita Asante, former FC Rosengård team mate says:

 

“Lieke always gives 110% in training, I don’t recall a session where she was bad. She has frightening pace with the ball, she’s a clinical finisher and she’s a very ambitious person too. At the same time, she’s equally a great team player and she added depth and strength to our team when she was here.

 
Renee Slegers, Netherlands team mate says:

“Lieke is such a great player, aesthetically great, people love to watch her play. She started to be more determined and scored more goals the last two years and that made her the great player she is now. She is always reflecting herself and her performances. We hung out a lot when we both were living in the south of Sweden, I miss her as a friend here.”

Priya Ramesh, Dutch football writer says:

“If this has objectively been any one person’s year, Lieke Martens is a worthy candidate to be that person. World Player of the Year, successfully taking on responsibility at FC Rosengård after Marta’s departure, earning a move to FC Barcelona, leading her country to an international triumph on home soil – an incredible year that comes close to being perfect.

“The face of a new dawn for women’s football in Europe and perhaps in the world, Martens has shown no signs of stopping at her new club, continuing to toy with defenders and then slaloming past them, and linking up to devastating effect with the likes of fellow new signing Toni Duggan, Bárbara Latorre and Andressa Alves.”

 

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