18. Nadia Nadim
There are few players in women’s football with a story and a pedigree quite like Nadia Nadim’s. The Afghanistan-born forward was so close to the ultimate piece of glory with Denmark at Euro 2017, but she showed Europe why she’s rated so highly.
Very few can match her work ethic and determination on the field, but Nadim can also do her talking with a ball at her feet. The Portland Thorns forward brought Denmark level in their historic quarter-final win against Germany, stepped up first in the semi-final shootout against Austria and opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the final.
Nadim missed games for the Thorns due to the Euro’s, but still chipped in with six goals and three assists as Nadim got her hands on the NWSL to end the year. It was an apt ending for Nadim at the club as she announced she will join FA WSL champions Manchester City for 2018.
Mark Parsons, Portland Thorns manager says:
“Nadia has an amazing personality, it’s infectious. She believes she’s always going to score and always going to play and that’s important to have. She’s ultra-competitive and I say this in a positive way, but she wants to be the person who is the star, she wants to make it happen for her team mates.
“She thinks it’s purely her responsibility to help her team win the game and she thrives in that situation. She’s got unbelievable movement, she’s a good finisher, she’s a nightmare for defenders because she drops in behind, drops deep and never gives centre backs a quiet moment. Nadia reads defenders, if they get too tight she’ll spin in behind and I think the English game will suit Nadia more than it did here.”
Nils Nielsen, former Denmark head coach says:
“Nadia Nadim has X-factor. She has skills and she is a wonderful finisher, especially with her head. A player that can decide matches and one of the biggest stars Denmark ever had in this game.”
Pernille Harder, Denmark team mate says:
“Nadia is a very, very good header of the ball. She knows where to be in the box and makes a lot of goals and is also a forward who can make goals by herself.”