Ranked! The 10 best women's playmakers in the world

Ranked! The 10 best women's playmakers in the world
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The role of the playmaker is one of the most deified positions in football, and it is no different in the women’s game. The creativity and responsibility these players are handed in their positions often makes them the faces of their teams.

Here are our top ten of the best women’s playmakers in the world.

Best women's playmakers: 10. Lina Magull (Bayern Munich)

Lina Magull

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For both Bayern Munich and Germany, Lina Magull is a leader. She is a player who can always be relied on in her team, not necessarily because she is always going to score an amazing goal or do something incredibly creative, but because she is so consistent, she regularly makes the difference with her off or on-ball work.

She also showed this summer that she can really turn it on when it matters. Magull scored three goals for Germany during the Euros as they reached the finals, including a wonderfully well-taken equaliser against England at Wembley. Her hard work in Germany’s high pressing structure made her a key component of the side.

9. Mariona Caldentey (Barcelona)

Mariona

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Mariona Caldentey is just one of a number of Barcelona playmakers who have grown up watching Lionel Messi play for the club. The 26-year-old is actually incredibly versatile, with the ability to play on either wing or as a central striker, as well as in the number 10 role. She recently showcased her technical ability with a fantastic goal, scored from the halfway line against Rosengard in the Champions League.

8. Caroline Weir (Real Madrid)

Caroline Weir

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Caroline Weir had long been one of the more underrated players in the WSL, a crucial part of Manchester City’s midfield, but it is through her move to Real Madrid this summer that she has truly blossomed. At Madrid, she has been made the centre-piece of that Spanish side, occasionally used out wide but given licence to drift wherever she wants. 

Weir has been central to Real Madrid’s attack, recording five goals and five assists in her first nine Liga F appearances, as well as scoring the goal that knocked her former club Manchester City out of the Champions League. She is also a particular fan of lobbing a goalkeeper, something that Manchester United’s Mary Earps knows only too well. 

7. Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal)

Vivianne Miedema

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It has been a strange couple of years for Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema. Once regarded as one of the best strikers in the world, her preference for playing in a deeper position coupled with Arsenal’s recruitment of Swedish striker Stina Blackstenius has seen her predominantly be used this season as a playmaker.

Miedema has also struggled with a COVID-19 infection picked up during the Euros which has led to her taking some time off during the start of the season. There have been flashes of her brilliance for Arsenal this year but it remains to be seen whether she can be as effective as a No.10 as she was devastating as a No.9.

6. Jill Roord (Wolfsburg)

Jill Roord

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Former Arsenal playmaker Jill Roord has really come into her own since a move to Wolfsburg two seasons ago. Since joining Die Wolfinnen, she has proved what an effective finisher she can be with only Tabea Waßmuth scoring more goals than her in the Frauen Bundesliga title-winning season last year. 

Her goal against Barcelona in the second-leg semi-final in the Champions League was a great example of this, helping lead her team to a famous win even though they exited the group stage. Roord has already managed five goals in seven starts and is an essential part of a side that many in European football will be looking ominously at.

5. Ella Toone (Manchester United)

Ella Toone

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Manchester United’s Ella Toone properly announced herself on the international stage as one of Sarina Wiegman’s effective super-subs in England’s Euro 2022 winning campaign. Toone scored the opener in the final at Wembley, a delightful lob over Germany goalkeeper Merle Frohms, which seemed to take forever to drop into the back of the net.

For United, Toone goes from strength to strength with the club clearly seeing her as their face, securing her in a contract that runs until 2026. Her confidence is growing every week and the relationship she has built with the attacking players around her is helping propel United to a title challenge in the WSL this season.

4. Pernille Harder (Chelsea)

Pernille Harder

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When Chelsea brought Pernille Harder over to London from Wolfsburg, the world record signing was coming off the back of an incredible season where she scored 27 goals in 21 Frauen-Bundesliga games, as well as helping them to reach a Champions League final.

Harder might not have posted the same kind of record breaking numbers that she did in Germany but that does not mean she hasn’t had an influence at Chelsea. Her athletic ability means that she is one of the most important figures in Emma Hayes’ high press, but unfortunately injury issues have limited her ability to have a consistent run in the side. She is currently out with a long-term hamstring injury. 

3. Fran Kirby (Chelsea)

Fran Kirby

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Fran Kirby has not always played in a central playmaking role but it has always been something that she has suggested is her preferred position. Everything Kirby does is all about creativity. She is Chelsea’s all-time top scorer and has brought the best out of numerous players, not least Sam Kerr with whom she combined to propel Chelsea to the 2020/21 WSL title and Champions League final.

Despite the pressures she has had in her career, including a number of big injuries and an almost career-ending bout of pericarditis, she has continued to show she is capable of playing at the very highest level. Chelsea always look sharper with Kirby in the team and she came back from long-term illness to start every match at Euro 2022, testament to Sarina Wiegman’s faith in her.

2. Aitana Bonmati (Barcelona)

Aitana Bonmati

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It would be too simplistic to just describe 24-year-old Aitana Bonmati as a younger version of Alexia Putellas, but there is no doubt that the similarities are there. Whilst in past seasons, Aitana has played in a slightly deeper midfield role, Alexia’s ACL injury has pushed Aitana into the spotlight. Not only is she playing further up the pitch, she has also become a bigger leader on the pitch for Barcelona.

With four goals in three Champions League appearances this season, she has certainly delivered when it comes to the goalscoring front. But in reality, Aitana is an all-round superstar whether it is about passing or pressing. She more than has the capacity to become the best player in the world.

1. Alexia Putellas (Barcelona)

Alexia Putellas

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The first woman to win the Ballon D’Or twice in consecutive years, it is hard to argue that there is any player in the world more accomplished than Alexia Putellas right now. The 28-year-old spent a year in La Masia and is the most complete distillation of Barcelona football club.

With her as their most important player, Barcelona have established themselves as the best women’s team in the world. Last season was personally her most successful yet as she scored 29 goals in 36 Liga F and UWCL matches, although potentially the year before where she lifted the Champions League trophy might have been the one that meant most. 

Out with an ACL injury sustained a couple of days before Euro 2022, it is unclear whether Alexia will be back before the end of the season. But there is no doubt that when she returns, she will be stepping back into the mantle of being the best player in the world. 

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Jessy Parker Humphreys is a freelance women's football writer. A Chelsea fan, Jessy has been following the women's game since being taken to the 2003/04 FA Cup final at Loftus Road and seeing Arsenal thrash Jessy's local side Charlton. Fortunately, Arsenal don't win quite as much as they used to – although Jessy hopes Charlton will also be back at the top of the women's game one day.