26: Nilla Fischer
It is unsurprising to see the Wolfsburg captain Fischer rank among the top defenders in 2018, a reputation she has cemented over many years. Part of a team that kept 13 clean sheets in 18 matches during the second half of 2017-18, she walked away with another league title before announcing this season would be her last in Germany. She will return to Sweden with Linköping; meanwhile, under her new national team manager, Peter Gerhardsson, Fischer continued to play a big role as the Swedes booked their spot in France for the World Cup.
Stephan Lerch, VfL Wolfsburg manager:
“Nilla is a leading player. She is very good and strong at the back in duels and headers. But with her good passing too she can help the team in other ways too.”
Peter Gerhardsson, Sweden head coach:
“Nilla is the captain of Wolfsburg but also a leader in the Sweden team. She’s strong in the defence and developing her passing every year, including 2018, to become a modern centre-back.”