In the game of football, a defender is an outfield player whose primary tasks are to stop attacks during the match and prevent the opposing team from scoring goals. Center-backs are mostly in pairs, with two full-backs to their left and right, but can come in threes with no full-backs. There are normally four types of defenders: center-back, sweeper, full-back, and wing-back. The center-back and full-back positions are crucial in most formations. The sweeper and wing-back positions are important for certain formations depending on the team’s choice of play and adaptation. Center-backs are normally known for their ability to win duels in the air. Let us take a look at the top 5 best female football defenders in the world.
1. Wendie Renard
Wendie Renard was born on 20 July 1990. She is a French football player who plays as a center-back. She also captains both Division 1 Feminine club Lyon and the France team. Renard is one of the most decorated players as a goal-scoring defender in women’s club football. In 2019, she has won a record 14 French League titles and eight European Cups. In 2019, The New York Times mentioned her as an “institution” at Lyon, the most successful club in European women’s football. Wendie joined Lyon in 2006 and since the 2007–08 season, she has performed well and helped her team in winning fourteen consecutive league titles from 2006 to 2020, as well as numerous Challenge de France trophies.
Renard was featured in the final match of the UEFA Women’s Champions League in 2010 and, in the 2010–11 edition, she helped Lyon win the competition. She scored the winning goal against Paris Saint-Germain in the 2019–20 UEFA Women’s Champions League semi-finals on 26 August 2020. She won the competition for the seventh time in her career. Renard has already played at under-19 and under-20 levels. She started playing for the France women’s team at the 2011 Cyprus Cup in a match against Switzerland. She has since played for France in two FIFA Women’s World Cups and two Olympics and was the team captain from September 2013. After the Euro 2017 tournament, she was stripped of the captaincy and was ultimately succeeded by Amandine Henry. Renard registered three goals in the group stage of the 2019 World Cup. She was the tallest player at that edition of the World Cup.
2. Magdalena Eriksson
Magdalena Eriksson was born on 8 September 1993. She is a Swedish football player who plays as a defender for Chelsea Women in the English Women’s Super League as well as for the Swedish team. She used to play for Hammarby IF, Djurgardens IF, and Linkopings FC in the Swedish Damallsvenskan as a left-back and center-back. Magdalena was awarded the Diamantbollen award in November 2020. Eriksson started her football career with the local team Enskede IK. She made her debut against Umea IK. In July 2017, she signed a two-year deal with the Women’s Super League team Chelsea FC Women. Further, on 20 August 2018, she extended her contract until 2021. Chelsea announced on 6 September 2019 that Eriksson would be the new captain. Further, on 12 November 2020, she extended her deal until 2023.
Eriksson played her 100th game for Chelsea on 9 December 2020 in a Champions League win over Benfica. Eriksson was named as one of the best defenders in Europe for her consistent performance, especially after Chelsea’s WSL title-winning 2020–21 season. As a Swedish under-19 international, she was part of the winning team at the 2012 U-19 European Championship. She started playing for the Sweden team against France on 8 February 2014. She played a crucial role in the Swedish team that won silver at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Pia Sundhage named Eriksson to Sweden’s UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 team in July 2017.
3. Maria Pilar Leon
Maria Pilar Leon was born on 13 June 1995. She is a Spanish football player who plays as a defender for FC Barcelona and the Spain women’s team. Leon started her career with her hometown club before moving on to RCD Espanyol and Atletico Madrid. She made the transition from a left-back to a center-back at Atletico. Leon received the first league and Copa de la Reina titles of her career at the club.
In 2017, she signed for FC Barcelona Femeni from Atletico Madrid, with a fee of 50,000 euros. With Barcelona, she has received three Copas de la Reina, two league titles, and one Supercopa Femenina. She has played a crucial role in two Champions League finals with the club in 2019 and 2021. Leon started playing with the Spanish team in 2016. She played in qualifiers for the 2017 UEFA Women’s Euro. Thereafter she has played in two major international competitions for La Roja- the 2017 UEFA Women’s Euro and the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
4. Steph Houghton
Steph Houghton was born on 23 April 1988. She is an English football player who plays for and captains both Manchester City and the England team. At the club level, she started playing at Sunderland in her native North East England. Thereafter, she moved to LeedsUnited in 2007, then Arsenal Ladies in 2010. She played for the Sunderland team as a striker before moving back into midfield and later into defense. Since the beginning, she has played over 100 times for the England team. She played in the 2011 World Cup and Euro 2013. She was selected as England captain in January 2014. Houghton scored three goals in Great Britain’s four games at the 2012 London Olympics. She was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire in the 2016 New Year Honours for services to football.
5. Lucy Bronze
Lucy Bronze was born on 28 October 1991. She is an English football player who plays as a right-back for the English club Manchester City and the England team. Earlier, she played for Sunderland, Everton, Liverpool, and Olympique Lyonnais. Bronze has played a crucial role in winning three UEFA Women’s Champions League titles with Olympique Lyonnais as well as three FA Women’s Super League titles with Liverpool and Manchester City. Lucy played for England at all youth levels before featuring in the national team at Euro 2013.
She received the Silver Ball at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France. She helped England to a fourth-place finish and was named to the All-Star Squad at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada, in which England ranked third. Lucy received the PFA Women’s Players’ Player of the Year award twice – in 2014 and 2017. Bronze was honored by BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year in 2018 and 2020. Further, she became the first English footballer to win the UEFA Women’s Player of the Year Award in 2019. In December 2020, she was The Best FIFA Women’s Player.
You can refer to the TOP 5 BEST FEMALE GOALKEEPERS IN THE WORLD
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