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UEFA presents Women’s Team of the Year for the first time ever!

UEFA has revealed the Women’s Best 11 of the year for the first time in history. Not surprisingly, the most represented team in UEFA WTOY is Olympique Lyonnais, Women’s Champions League winner, with 6 players. The eleven selected players represent six different clubs and seven countries, with France (five players) being the most represented nation.

Originally, UEFA shortlisted 50 players and then gave fans the option to choose the best 11. The 50 nominated women’s players represented just 11 clubs: Lyon, PSG, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Wolfsburg, Bayern Munich, Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City, Juventus, and PSV Eindhoven.

Again as a result of Lyon’s continental and domestic dominance, France have more international players nominated than any other teams (10). Division 1 Feminine is also the most represented league on show, with 19 players who plied their trades in the French top flight at some point during 2020.

Here is UEFA Women’s Team of the Year:

GK: Sarah Bouhaddi (Lyon & France)

UEFA Women’s Champions League: 5 appearances (2 clean sheets)
Domestic: 15 (12)
France: 1 (1)
Total: 21 (15)

Won record-equalling seventh UEFA Women’s Champions League title (picking up the competition’s inaugural Goalkeeper of the Season award) and eighth French double with Lyon, letting in only seven goals all year.

DEF: Lucy Bronze (Lyon/Manchester City & England)

UEFA Women’s Champions League: 5 appearances (2 clean sheets)
Domestic: 20 (12)
England: no appearances
Total: 25 (14)

The 2019 UEFA and 2020 FIFA player of the year made it three UEFA Women’s Champions League titles in three seasons with Lyon. The right-back was superb in the final against Wolfsburg, before returning to Manchester City and winning the FA Women’s Cup at Wembley.

DEF: Kadeisha Buchanan (Lyon & Canada)

UEFA Women’s Champions League: 5 appearances (2 clean sheets)
Domestic: 16 (11)
Canada: 6 (4)
Total: 27 (17)

Stepped up as Wendie Renard’s regular central defensive partner in Griedge Mbock Bathy’s injury absence to help Lyon to another clean sweep of trophies in a year in which Buchanan won her 100th Canada cap at the age of 24.

DEF: Wendie Renard (Lyon & France)

UEFA Women’s Champions League: 4 appearances (1 clean sheet)
Domestic: 19 (14)
France: 4 (4)
Total: 27 (19)

A seventh UEFA Women’s Champions League title came to the Lyon captain, tournament Defender of the Season, competition appearance record-holder and winning goalscorer in the semi-final against Paris Saint-Germain. There was also a ninth French double for the towering centre-back, who was cited by President Emmanuel Macron in his new year address as someone who made the nation “dream in this grey period”.

DEF: Magdalena Eriksson (Chelsea & Sweden)

UEFA Women’s Champions League: 2 appearances (2 clean sheets)
Domestic: 21 (11)
Sweden: 8 (5)
Total: 31 (18)

The ball-playing left-sided defender captained Chelsea to FA Women’s Super League and League Cup success, as well as winning the FA Women’s Community Shield at Wembley, and helped Sweden to UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 qualification.

MID: Kheira Hamraoui (Barcelona & France)

UEFA Women’s Champions League: 3 appearances (1 goal)
Domestic: 14 (2)
France: no appearances
Total: 17 (3)

Hamraoui was Barcelona’s goalscoring hero in the UEFA Women’s Champions League quarter-final against Atlético, but it was her role holding the midfield and letting her attacking team-mates shine that was key to her, and her club’s, success.

MID: Amandine Henry (Lyon & France)

UEFA Women’s Champions League: 3 appearances (0 goals)
Domestic: 18 (3)
France: 4 (0)
Total: 25 (3)

There are few more complete, astute and hard-working midfielders in women’s football than Henry, and she was crucial to Lyon’s latest successes, even if injury in the UEFA Women’s Champions League quarter-finals ruled her out of the rest of the August tournament – and despite victories in the semis and final, her influence was missed by OL.

MID: Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir (Wolfsburg/Lyon & Iceland)

UEFA Women’s Champions League: 5 appearances (1 goal)
Domestic: 14 (3)
Iceland: 7 (2)
Total: 26 (6)

A key midfield component in another Wolfsburg title win, Gunnarsdóttir switched to Lyon in July and the next month aided her new club to UEFA Women’s Champions League final victory against her former side with a late clinching goal in the 3-1 win. It was Gunnarsdóttir who took over Henry’s role in the finals after her club-mate’s injury and showed her worth in a year when she steered her nation to UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 and was voted Iceland’s sportsperson of 2020.

MID: Daniëlle van de Donk (Arsenal & Netherlands)

UEFA Women’s Champions League: 1 appearance (0 goals)
Domestic: 23 (3)
Netherlands: 6 (3)
Total: 30 (6)

Van de Donk’s all-round midfield ability is fully utilised by Arsenal, where she is used in both attacking and defensive roles, chipping in with crucial assists as well as sweeping up to make sure the Gunners’ other creative talents have freedom to move forward. Also remained at the heart of the Netherlands’ game as the reigning champions booked a UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 spot in style.

MID: Delphine Cascarino (Lyon & France)

UEFA Women’s Champions League: 5 appearances (0 goals)
Domestic: 19 (2)
France: 7 (1)
Total: 31 (3)

The pacy right-winger was at her devastating best in August’s UEFA Women’s Champions League tournament, recording the fastest two sprints among other achievements, and was named Player of the Match in Lyon’s final win against Wolfsburg, setting up the first two goals in the 3-1 victory. She has continued to set up goal after goal in the French league to end a year when long-held promise was truly fulfilled.

FWD: Pernille Harder (Wolfsburg/Chelsea & Denmark)

UEFA Women’s Champions League: 5 appearances (5 goals)
Domestic: 23 (13)
Denmark: 8 (5)
Total: 36 (23)

The first player to be named UEFA Women’s Player of the Year for a second time, Harder was more prolific in front of goal than ever in inspiring Wolfsburg to another German double and UEFA Women’s Champions League final (being named the competition’s Forward of the Season) before making a high-profile move to Chelsea, scoring a back-heeled goal a few minutes into her home debut for her new club. Also helped Denmark reach UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 in impressive fashion.

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