Despite a controversial nominating process, FIFA eventually got its women’s player of the year award right.
Netherlands and Barcelona attacker Lieke Martens has been named The Best FIFA Women’s Player for 2017, beating out two-time winner Carli Lloyd and 18-year-old phenom Deyna Castellanos.
Castellanos is, notably, not a professional footballer yet. While she’s been spectacular at college and Under-17 level, her performances at the most recent Under-17 World Cup actually fell outside of the window for evaluation.
Lloyd, while still widely considered to be a world-class player, had one of the weakest years of her career in 2017. Their nominations as finalists called FIFA’s process into serious question.
However, it’s likely that Martens would have come out on top of a sound and thorough award process anyway after her spectacular 2017. After an excellent start to the year at FK Rosengard in Sweden, Martens helped lead the Netherlands to the UEFA Euro 2017 title, putting in a superb performance in the final. She was named player of the tournament, with three goals and two assists.
Following the tournament, Martens moved to FC Barcelona, who she’s helped to the top of the table in Spain and through to the Champions League round of 16.
The controversy surrounding this award’s finalists will likely lead FIFA to review its process. But thankfully the voters got it right in the end, and Martens has the award she deserves.
Source: Kevin McCauley| sbnation