Top 100 Female Footballers of 2022: 40-31
Results: 100-91, 90-81, 80-71, 70-61, 60-51, 50-41, 40-31, 30-21, 20-11, 10-1
The voting period for the Top 100 Female Footballers of 2022 was 1st November 2021 – 31st October 2022
There is no doubting Pajor is one of the best goalscorers in the world. Now 26 and entering the peak years of her career, she will be hoping injury problems are behind her, as will both Wolfsburg and Poland. Her stats since the summer tell their own story, with the forward leading the way in the Bundesliga with eight goals. Pajor is also the top scorer in the Champions League so far this season with six. Carry on this form and Pajor will be flying up the rankings in 2023, particularly as she remains prolific at international level too.
Alessia Russo redefined the term “supersub” in 2022, though it’s a tag she can now already shirk off having taken up the starting spot for England since Ellen White’s retirement in August. Her impact up front was critical in England’s success in the summer, starting with coming off the bench to set up the team’s equaliser against Spain, before her famous backheel took centre-stage against Sweden in the semi-finals. For Manchester United, Russo is going from strength to strength, her physical ability combining with her goalscoring to make her a tough player to stop.
Oshoala drops slightly in 2022 and that may largely be down to how you can split the forward’s year into two. The first half she was in top form and ended the season as the joint-top scorer with an excellent 20 goals alongside Geyse. Oshoala had a quiet Africa Cup of Nations due to injury and has seen starting opportunities at times limited in the new season, though her stunning goal against Benfica reminded what she can do when in top form. When on it, she is sublime.
The 22-year-old rockets back into the top 100 this year and there is still so much to come from the exciting young forward. Though not a prolific goalscorer, Bühl is capable of terrorising even the best defences with her direct play, as she is showing for Bayern Munich and for Germany in the summer. It was such a blow for the Germans to lose Bühl for the Euros semi-final and final to Covid-19 and a personal blow for such an exciting player who was showing what she could do on the biggest stage.
Pugh comes in with her highest-ever ranking and her first top 50 appearance since 2016 after an exceptional year in the USA. She scored a superb 11 goals during the season and added six assists. Rightfully an MVP nominee and with a spot in the NWSL team of the year, her lightning pace was complemented by a much more solid end product. She is one of the most dangerous forwards in the world.
It would be easy to focus on one great moment in Geyoro’s year, that eye-catching and rare hat-trick for France inside 45 minutes against Italy at Euro 2022, but goals are far from what her game is mainly about. She was in ultra-high demand this year and subject to interest that could have seen her transfer for a world-record fee. Geyoro remained at PSG, however, having been nominated for player of the year in France and named in the team of the year. Now one of the most complete midfielder’s around, combining passing ability and defensive qualities.
Bacha is fast becoming one of the world’s top young talents. Her ability to influence games in an attacking sense from left-back is already close to unmatched and she is only 22 years old. Bacha registered nine assists in the league and another nine in the Champions League last season. It is unsurprising she ended up named in the Champions League squad of the season and was also named the best young player in the competition. How much more will come is anyone’s guess.
Lavelle has become one of those players who are just amazing to watch when at their best. She can gracefully glide across the pitch and pick up spaces others don’t even see, combining such movement with precise touch and close control. The 27-year-old was close to her best in 2022, named in the NWSL Second XI as OL Reign won the regular season, while twice being named player of the month during an excellent individual campaign both domestically and internationally.
Cascarino bounces back up the rankings following another good year for both Lyon and France. She maintains the ability to be an old-fashioned winger, getting to the byline and putting dangerous crosses into the box, or coming inside an unleashing a stunner like her goal against Italy in the Euros. Overall, another solid year for Cascarino who at 25 is now approaching the peak years of an exciting career.
Guijarro drops only a couple of spots but how close she comes to her 2021 ranking shows the consistency in her performances. She has silently become one of the ultimate midfield pivots, her brain and ability to spot a pass close to unmatched as she compliments the talent in midfield for both club and country. The Spaniard ended last season with nine assists in the league and she’s already well on course to reach that, while her overall midfield game continues to go from strength to strength. At just 24, there’s still more to come.