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Women's World XI players speak about what it means to them to be picked by their peers.

More than 4,100 female first-division women footballers in 45 countries voted for their best team based on 2017 performances. It is the third straight year FIFPro has organized this poll; footballers selected one goalkeeper, four defenders, three midfielders and three attackers.

 

Hedvig Lindahl (goalkeeper, Chelsea & Sweden)
“One of my big goals is to be the world’s best keeper. It’s been my dream, and to be a part of the FIFPro World XI, at least once, is something tangible to show to my kids. For me it means the world, actually. I’m thinking about all the years on this journey, the ups and downs, and all the people involved. People who looked at me when I was young and I told them about my dream, and they’re like, “yeah, okay, good luck with that.” Now, there’s something to show. There are so many great goalkeepers out there, it’s humbling to think that my peers voted for me.”

Lucy Bronze (defender, Lyon & England)
“It’s a very nice feeling to be in the World XI. The awards where players have voted for you are the best ones. It’s voted for by the players who are playing against you – so they voted for me because they didn’t like playing against me. I feel I have been quite consistent since my first big year, the World Cup year in 2015. Reaching the Champions League
semifinal with Manchester City last year gave me more exposure and that’s when people start to give you more recognition.”

Nilla Fischer (defender, Wolfsburg & Sweden)
“It is always extra special when players are voting, because we play against each other or train with each other and really know each other’s skills. I feel very happy, proud and honoured. You don’t play for the award but it is a sign that I have been keeping my standard high. I am still on top even though I am getting older.”

Irene Paredes (defender, PSG & Spain)
“I didn’t expect this at all. Since I joined Paris Saint-Germain from Athletic Bilbao and have been playing in the Champions League my level of performance has improved. It’s nice to get this recognition.”

 2016 2017 WWXI winners 640

(Photo: Dzsenifer Marozsan, Nilla Fischer, Marta and Alex Morgan with their 2016 World XI trophies.)

Marta (midfielder, Orlando Pride & Brazil)
 “This shows I can still play at the top level. I’m very happy. It’s also motivation for me to keep pushing myself. Women’s football is becoming more competitive so it’s harder to stay at the top. You have to have a lot of perseverance to stay consistent. I have that in my character: fighting spirit. When I was growing up in small town of 12,000 people in the north of Brazil I had to face up to prejudice and discrimination because I was the only girl in a team of boys I had to work harder to prove myself.”

Dzsenifer Marozsan (midfielder, Lyon & Germany)
“It is really special being voted in the World’s best XI by other players. I am very, very proud of this achievement. My transfer to Lyon from Frankfurt helped me improve on a number of points: athleticism, heading, teamwork. Those little things make me realize I have advanced to a higher level."

Camille Abily (midfielder, Lyon & France)
“I didn’t win a trophy with France so for me to have this recognition at the end of my career is a great moment for all my years in football. I’m really happy.”

Alex Morgan (forward, Orlando Pride & U.S.)
“It's always exciting to be considered as one of the top players in the world. For women’s football to have our own World XI is incredible. It helps promote the women's game. It helps female footballers recognize the talent among their peers and I'm really happy to encourage and be a part of that.”

Pernille Harder (forward, Wolfsburg & Denmark)
“This is a cool recognition, a really great achievement. 2017 was the best year of my career so far, all the hard work I put in is paying off. I always work hard in training and I also spend a lot of time analyzing my game. I watch a video all of my games to find ways of improving. Everyone likes to be recognized for their achievement so being part of the World XI is fantastic.”

Lieke Martens (forward, Barcelona & Netherlands)
“I am a little surprised that I received most votes of all players. I like it but I know that there are so many very good players like Pernille Harder, Eugenie le Sommer and many others. Last year was very special. We achieved something beautiful with the Dutch national team. It says a lot that six Dutch players made the list of 55 most voted players. When the European Championship began we were not one of the favourites. We managed to play some good matches, started believing in our qualities and also surprised ourselves a little bit.”

 Embed from Getty Images

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