Top 100 Female Footballers of 2021: 70-61
The voting period for the Top 100 Female Footballers of 2021 was October 2020 – October 2021.
Wälti’s role in the Arsenal team perhaps goes underappreciated, but it’s a crucial one as she facilitates the level of attacking talent ahead of her. The defensive midfielder has established herself as one of the best in her position, an ability to spot a pass to those ahead which helps unlock Arsenal’s threat level up front like very few others. She deservedly rises slightly in the rankings this year. Wälti can control games with ease and has kept her role in the Arsenal team since the arrival of new coach Jonas Eidevall.
Nobody had a higher rate of assists per 90 minutes in the Bundesliga last season than Dallmann, and that says much of what you need to know about her influence on the Bayern Munich team and their deserved title success in 2020-21. Dallmann has become one of the best creative players in Europe, whether it be direct assists or passes that help create openings, Dallmann is establishing herself as a top player and ahead of next year’s Euros is really one to watch for Germany.
It says much about Torrejón’s attacking threat that from full-back she ended last season with double figures for goals. At 31, the attacking defender is one of the most experienced heads in a successful Barcelona side and she still has a huge influence on the team at both ends of the pitch. A club legend, she made her 300th club appearance for the Catalans this year. Aside from her 10 goals, Torrejón also registered double figures for assists in the league in 2021 and played a vital role in the treble-winning season.
Many within the women’s game knew of Banda’s talents heading into this year, but to a more casual audience the summer Olympics saw her rise to prominence with her quite stunning performances for the tournament’s lowest-ranked side, Zambia. Banda may well be the first player to score back-to-back Olympic hat-tricks and not win either game, but her six-goal haul against European champions Netherlands and again in a thrilling 4-4 draw with China were two of the moments of the year. Her eye for goal is incredible and, at just 21, no doubt the world’s top clubs will be taking a close look this winter.
Carpenter only confirmed her status as one of the best full-backs in the world with a consistent year in 2021. Her move to Lyon has added an extra layer to her game, while her ability to get forward from full-back is unmatched by many and she can often be found influencing games at the top end of the pitch, forging a good partnership with Delphine Cascarino on Lyon’s right flank. Her sending-off in Australia’s Olympic semi-final defeat by Sweden was a low moment for a player still very young but there’s no doubt she’s still on the way to a top-level career.
Lindahl often seems to save her best for the biggest stages, and while the summer Olympics only ended in another silver medal for the goalkeeper, Lindahl couldn’t have done much more to get gold. Almost flawless throughout the tournament, the 38-year-old saved two penalties in the final shootout against Canada but it still wasn’t enough for Sweden. Another solid year at club level with Atlético too, Lindahl may still have another tournament or two in her with her form showing no sign of dipping.
Leupolz proved to be such a key signing for Chelsea last season, playing a role which allowed the level of talent in the Blues’ attack to flourish in a way perhaps it hadn’t been able to in previous seasons. An ability to link play but protect her defence, Leupolz was always a go-to player for Emma Hayes in big games and even occasionally popped up with a big goal through what can only be described as an almost perfect first full year in England for the Germany midfielder.
González makes the 100 for the first time but surely not the last, and even has a decent claim to have been a little higher. Her 29 goals for Levante last season saw her as the only player to even get remotely close to top scorer Jenni Hermoso, before a big move to Real Madrid followed. Despite a tough start to the season for the team, González has five goals in her opening eight games and a remarkable seven in just three World Cup qualifiers for Spain. Absolutely prolific all year.
Jakobsson enjoyed a good start to the year with Real Madrid, consistently supplying goals and assists for her team as we’ve come to expect from the Swede. She played a key role for her country in the summer Olympics, registering three assists with her driven attacking play down the wings and picked up a silver medal for her efforts. A move to Bayern Munich has followed. She has had a steady start in Bavaria despite struggling for a regular starting spot, but has shown her quality when called upon by Jens Scheuer.
Geyoro’s big jump in this year’s rankings shows her importance to both PSG and France at the heart of the midfield is becoming more appreciated worldwide. Her ability to build play is making her one of Europe’s top midfielders, and it’s no shock she is at the heart of the PSG side which finally ended Lyon’s domestic dominance. A place in the Champions League squad of the season only emphasised her growing reputation and at just 24 there should still be plenty more to come.