31. Saki Kumagai
It says a lot about Lyon’s quality that someone as good as Kumagai is no longer a guaranteed starter. One of the classiest and calmest passes on the ball, Kumagai played just 15 minutes of Lyon’s Champions League semi-finals and 18 minutes in the final, but her versatility meant she was still a key squad player as they piled up the silverware once again. Kumagai was still a key component of a Japan side filled with youngsters as they looked to prepare for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but Kumagai played every minute of the team’s World Cup campaign and was unlucky to see a penalty given against her to knock her side out with the harshest of handball calls.
Jess Fishlock, former Lyon player:
“Without Saki, Lyon don’t really work. Without the holding midfielder, it doesn’t work and that’s how important Saki is. She’s never been replaced, not long-term anyway, she’s been there for so long and keeps on ticking. She keeps things simple, keeps the game flowing and she’s massive for Lyon. She’s the unsung hero and she’s the first out on the training pitch every single day.”
|⇐ 32. Nikita Parris||30. Christen Press ⇒|