18: Saki Kumagai

Defensive midfielders do not always receive the credit they deserve but Kumagai’s rise into the top 20 proves that the best get recognised. One of the classiest in the game and able to combine her duties between midfield and defence, she was not always a starter for Lyon’s all-conquering side but her major success in 2018 came for her country. She captained Japan as they defeated rivals Australia to win the 2018 Asian Cup – making this another top year for a top player.

 

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