How the Guardian ranked the 100 best female footballers in the world 2021

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Leading coaches, former players and journalists from the women’s game are among the 86 judges for this year’s list, compiled in association with The Offside Rule Podcast


As we prepare to unveil our fourth edition of the best 100 female footballers in the world we can reveal the judges who took part in this year’s jury. As always we turned to some of the most respected and influential women and men in the game, including the US and Scotland women’s national head coaches Vlatko Andonovski and Pedro Martínez Losa.

Related: The 100 best female footballers in the world 2020

In addition, journalists, broadcasters and coaches such as the Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall, Real Sociedad’s Natalia Arroyo and the Brazil national team assistant head coach, Lilie Persson, also contributed.

Their votes have been counted to see whether Pernille Harder can hold on to her crown or whether we will have a new Guardian best female footballer in the world.

The countdown begins on Tuesday 7 December with Nos 100-71. On Wednesday we will reveal Nos 70-41, on Thursday Nos 40-11 before the top 10 on Friday completes this year’s list.

The Top 100 rules are explained beneath the judges, who are listed in alphabetical order by category.

Players

Arianna Criscione Former Italy international; former goalkeeper for FC Twente and PSG

Sarah Gregorius Former New Zealand international with 100 caps; won the FA WSL with Liverpool in 2013

Zsanett Jakabfi Former Hungary international; won six Bundesliga titles and two Champions League titles with Wolfsburg

Rebecca Moros Former NWSL player and USA Under-21 international; current University of Arizona head coach

Leonne Stentler Former Netherlands international with 13 caps; won the Eredivisie with ADO Den Haag in 2012

Laëtitia Tonazzi Former France international with 66 caps; scored 145 goals in 181 appearances for Juvisy; also played for Lyon and Montpellier

Coaches

Juan Carlos Amorós Real Betis manager

Vlatko Andonovski USA national team head coach

Natalia Arroyo Real Sociedad manager

Karina Báez UNAM manager

Elisabetta Bavagnoli AS Roma head of women’s football

Colin Bell South Korea national team head coach

Kim Björkegren Apollon Limassol manager

Shilene Booysen South Sudan national team head coach

Mariana Cabral Sporting Lisbon manager

Tamara Cassimon Belgium national team assistant head coach

Catherine Cannuli Western Sydney Wanderers manager

James Clarkson Houston Dash manager

Lisa Cole Antigua & Barbuda national team head coach

Lluis Cortés Ukraine national team head coach; Former FC Barcelona manager

Pamela Conti Venezuela national team head coach

Thomas Dennerby India national team head coach

Jonas Eidevall Arsenal manager

Desiree Ellis South Africa national team head coach

Samuel Fagerholm Umeå IK manager

Mark Gatt Malta national team head coach

Mats Gren Former BK Häcken manager

Inka Grings FC Zürich manager

Rita Guarino Inter Milan manager

Laura Harvey OL Reign manager

Nora Häuptle Israel national team head coach

Jonne Kunnas HJK Helsinki manager

Dimtiri Lipoff Wuhan Jiangda assistant manager

Pedro Losa Scotland national team head coach

Jasmine Mander Canada national youth team coach

Joe Montemurro Juventus manager

Nina Patalon Poland national team head coach

Poland’s head coach Nina Patalon
Poland’s head coach Nina Patalon. Photograph: Grzegorz Michałowski/EPA

Robert de Pauw FC Twente manager

Lilie Persson Brazil national team assistant head coach

Nacho Quintana Panama national team head coach

Pedro Lopez Ramos Spain under 19s head coach

Jens Scheuer FC Bayern Munich manager

Éric Sévérac Servette manager

Anna Signeul Finland national team head coach

Tatiele Silveira Santos manager

Caroline Sjöblom Sweden under 19s head coach

Martin Sjögren Norway national team head coach

Renee Slégers FC Rosengård manager

Lars Søndegaard Denmark national team head coach

Tommy Stroot Wolfsburg manager

André Vale Benfica coaching staff member

Carlos Veliz Universidad de Chile manager

Elisabetta Vignotto Sassuolo manager

Randy Waldrum Nigeria national team head coach

Nicola Williams Lazio assistant manager

Chan Yuen Ting China youth team coach

Media

Juliana Arreguy Women’s football writer in Brazil for UOL

Romain Balland Women’s football broadcaster in France

Javiera Court Arrau Women’s football writer in Chile

Syanie Dalmat Women’s football writer in France for L’Equipe

Seraina Degen Women’s football writer in Switzerland for SRF Sport

Cheryl Downes Women’s football writer in Australia

Mia Eriksson Women’s football writer in Sweden

Maria Fernandes Mora Women’s football broadcaster in Mexico for FOX Sports

Melina Gaspar Women’s football writer in Argentina

Ellen Hanisch Women’s football writer in Germany

Alex Ibaceta Women’s football writer in the UK

Harjeet Johal Women’s football writer in Canada

Rich Laverty Women’s football writer in the UK; creator of the Top 100

Sophie Lawson Women’s football writer in the UK

Samantha Lewis Women’s football writer in Australia for ABC Sport

Gianluca Lia Women’s football writer in Malta for the Times of Malta

Antonio Loma-Osorio Women’s football writer in Chile

David Menayo Women’s football writer in Spain for MARCA

Sofie Munch Women’s football writer in Denmark

Pamela Del Olmo Women’s football writer in Mexico

Charles Olney Women’s football writer in the USA

Christina Paulos Women’s football broadcaster in Norway for TV2 Sport

Sandra Prusina Women’s football broadcaster in Canada

Chantal Reyes Women’s football writer in Spain

Alicia Soares Women’s football writer in Brazil

Adriana Terrazas Women’s football writer in Mexico for TUDN

Hania Urbaniak Women’s football writer in Poland

Rivkah op het Veld Women’s football writer in the Netherlands at NOS Sport

Julia Wanjeri Women’s football writer in Africa; creator of JWSports

Suzanne Wrack Women’s football writer in the UK for the Guardian

How they made their choices

• Our judges were sent a longlist of footballers drawn from leagues on every continent and asked one question: who have been the best female players in the world in 2021?

• We asked our judges to choose 40 names each, and rank their selection in order from 1-40, No 1 being their choice of the best player this year.

How the voting works

• The No 1 choice of each judge was awarded 40pts, No 2 given 39pts, down to 1pt for their No 40 choice. All the votes were added together to give a raw score.

• To minimise the influence of outliers, the highest score awarded to a player was then deducted to give a final score.

• A player needed to receive votes from at least five judges to qualify.

• If players are level on points in the scoring, the number of individual votes cast is used as a tie-breaker.

Voting disclosure

• We are very grateful to our judges for taking part, and none have been paid for participating.

• To allow our judges the freedom to express their opinions without fear or favour, individual voting records are anonymised.


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