4: Lucy Bronze
The former Manchester City right-back has been a consistent member of the top 10 but reaches her highest ranking this time, just missing out on the top three at the end of her first full year in Lyon. Bronze got what she craved after leaving behind the WSL, winning the French title and starting the Champions League final. She did not quite live up to her reputation for popping up with goals, but did recently score against Ajax and saved her best for last season’s Champions League semi-final against her former club, where her stunning volley not only clinched the tie for Lyon but was nominated for Uefa’s goal of the year award. A sixth-placed ranking in Fifa’s The Best awards was well-earned and she has continued to be a regular at national team level, with the England head coach Phil Neville describing her as one of the leading players in the world. In 2018, Bronze has reasserted her claim to being the best player around in her position.
Phil Neville, England head coach:
“It’s been another hugely successful year for Lucy – a Champions League and French League title winner. She’s got so much quality to her game. Going to Lyon and training with some of the best players in world football has challenged her. It’s taken her game to a different level. She is a fantastic footballer, one of the best in the world and has deservedly received recognition through a Ballon d’Or nomination this year.”