39: Maren Mjelde

Norway endured a disastrous 2017 but things have improved significantly for them and for Mjelde. Her only goal of 2018 came in the first match of the year against Arsenal, but her quality, composure and ability on the ball have been the most persuasive demonstrations of her talent. After helping Chelsea to the domestic double, the national team captain proved influential as her side beat the Netherlands to an automatic spot for World Cup 2019.

Emma Hayes, Chelsea manager:

“She loves playing midfield, but she’s a great team player. She will do what is in the best interests of the team, sacrificing herself, and that’s what makes her special. We saw with her performances last year in different positions that tactically she is so important to the team. Her quiet influence on the group grown as the season progressed. We already knew she was captain of Norway and she’s a natural leader.”

Martin Sjogren, Norway head coach:

“Maren has been of highest importance for us in Norway in the qualification to the World Cup. She has been the spine in our back four and with her calmness and knowledge of the game performed at highest international level.

 

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