9. Wendie Renard
One down from 2016, but that’s no slight on another brilliant year for the Lyon captain. In the peak years of her career, the imposing defender already has more trophies to her name than most could ever hope for, adding three more to the cabinet this year.
Renard stepped up third to score her penalty in the Champions League final in Cardiff and was predictably named in the Squad of the Season alongside several of her team mates.
For France, things weren’t quite so simple. Renard rose highest to head home a last minute winner against England in their opening SheBelieves Cup game, but the 27-year-old would miss their next match up in the Euro 2017 quarter-finals through a suspension picked up in the final group game.
It looked like Renard would become the new permanent national team captain after Camille Abily’s retirement, but it hasn’t been all that simple for Renard under new head coach Corinne Diacre.
Either way, another impressive year for an impressive defender.
Lucy Bronze, Lyon team mate says:
“Shanice (van de Sanden) calls Wendie ‘the lion’. It is fair to say anyone that has gone toe to toe with her would agree. A presence like no other and rightly so has the status of the best defender in the world. Defending is second nature to her, like taking candy from a baby.”
Corine Petit, Lyon team mate says:
“Wendie for me is one of the best defenders in the world. She is so professional and each game wants to be the best. I can say that when you play just close to Wendie, you are more confident, and she is so important from the free-kicks and corners.”
Sandrine Dusang, former France international says:
“Wendie is a very important element in a defence. In addition to her size, which allows her to win almost all the aerial duels, she has a very good technique for a central defender. Intelligent in her placement and anticipation, Wendie also has a very good long ball game. Her head play is a weapon in defence, but also in attack, where she scores many goals on set pieces.”