Ten Of The Best Female Football Stars of All Time

By Ian John
June 23, 2023

The FIFA Women’s World Cup is very much on the horizon and excitement is building!


    32 teams will compete in the tournament, the 2023 version of which takes place in Australia and New Zealand from the 20th July.

    Many of the best players in the world will feature in the tournament. Though unfortunately not all, with a number of big-name stars injured and unable to play.

    That’s a shame because in the rapidly growing world of women’s football, the World Cup is the place to be.

    Since the first official tournament in 1991, there have always been women football superstars. That’s the case even in the unofficial tournaments that took place in the early 1970s and throughout the 1980s.

    However, it is generally rare that you see the greats of the women’s game compiled into a top ten list.

    Well, we think that it is time to change that.

    So here is our list of the ten best female football stars of all-time.

    The Ten Best Female Football Stars of All Time

    Please note that this list is not intended to be in a rated order.

    1. Mia Hamm (United States)

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    Mia Hamm arguably influenced American women’s football more than any other player. Making her debut aged 15 in 1987, she played 276 times for her country, scoring 158 goals, appearing in four World Cups, winning two, as well as winning two Olympic Golds from three tournaments.

    A pacy, clever striker who was a fantastic finisher, Hamm’s legacy was that she was the leader of a talented group of players who established the United States as a women’s football superpower from 1991 onwards.

    She was the first woman inducted into the Women’s Soccer Hall of Fame in 2013 and the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2021. She is now a part owner of MLS Cup winners Los Angeles FC.

    2. Marta (Brazil)


    One of just two players still playing today, there have been no more skilled and gifted footballers in the women’s game than Marta.

    While her club career has seen her play all over the world including in Sweden, Norway, Brazil, Mexico and the United States, she has been fiercely loyal to her country, making 174 appearances and scoring 115 goals ahead of this summer’s tournament.

    She is a six-time FIFA World Player of the year winning every year from 2006 to 2010 and again in 2018. She won the FIFA World Cup Golden Boot and Golden Ball in 2007 and is the all-time record goalscorer in World Cup history with 17 goals.

    3. Alexia Putellas (Spain)

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    The only other player in this top ten still playing, Alexia Putella’s final legacy has yet to be written. She hasn’t got the same goalscoring record as other players in this list (27 goals from 100 caps for Spain) plus 126 in 281 games for Barcelona. So why is she here?

    Quite simply, Putellas is the most gifted player of her generation. A creative midfielder and goalscorer in the Zidane/Iniesta mould, she is the heartbeat of a very talented Barcelona women’s team and her influence likened to that of Xavi & Iniesta in the men’s team.

    She spent most of this season injured, but should be fit to showcase her talents at the World Cup Finals.

    4. Birgit Prinz (Germany)

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    Prinz was as natural a goalscorer as there was in the women’s game and she repeated her club level success at international level.

    She ended her career with 282 goals from 282 club games, and 214 caps for Germany, in which she scored 128 goals.

    Birgit is the second all-time leading scorer in World Cup Finals behind Brazilian Marta on 14 goals.

    She won FIFA World Player of the year three times from 2003 to 2005. She was a key figure in Germany’s two World Cup triumphs in 2003 and 2007, and also won four European Championships in 1997, 2001, 2005 and 2009 as well as a trio of Bronzes at the Olympics.

    5. Abby Wambach (United States)

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    Abby Wambach-s 14-year international career is short compared to other women in this top ten. However, she achieved remarkable feats across her 255 caps, including scoring 184 goals.

    She scored arguably the most important goal in USWNT history. A header in the 122nd minute of the 2011 World Cup Quarter Final match with Brazil, levelling the score at 2-2. The USA went on to win on penalties and reached the final, only to lose on penalties to Japan.

    She won the World Cup in 2015 and won Olympic Gold twice.

    Wambach was also FIFA’s Women’s World Player of the Year in 2012.

    6. Sun Wen (China)

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    Without doubt the most influential Chinese player in their history, Sun was a national team regular at the age of 17 and she appeared in four World Cups. She played in every game for China in major tournaments from 1991 to 2003, earning two runners up finishes in the 1996 Olympics and 1999 World Cup.

    She was named FIFA Female Player of the Century, along with Michelle Akers and she won the Golden Boot and Golden Ball for her performances at the 1999 World Cup.

    She finished with 163 caps and 106 goals for her country.

    7. Kelly Smith (England)

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    Perhaps England’s best ever player, Kelly Smith played 117 times for her country, scoring 46 goals in an era when the English women’s team was not quite as strong as it is now.

    Despite that, the languid midfielder or forward was blessed with outstanding skill on the ball and despite a career which was halted several times by injuries, she managed to enjoy a hugely successful career.

    Hope Powell, former England Women’s manager stated “Kelly is one of those players who come along only once or twice in a lifetime. In the men’s game, you’d think of Diego Maradona or [Lionel] Messi, players with a unique talent, and that’s what Kelly has.”

    8. Carli Lloyd (United States)

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    The former USA forward enjoyed an incredible career where she was capped 316 times by her country and scored 134 goals.

    After making her debut in 2005, she played a key role in the USA’s two World Cup triumphs in 2015 and 2019 in addition to when they were runners up in 2011. That on top of two Olympic Gold medals too.

    She is the only player, male or female, to score a hat-trick in a World Cup Final within normal time. She completed hers in the 16th minute of the 2015 final against Japan, with a shot from the halfway line that won goal of the tournament.

    9. Michelle Akers (United States)

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    What was remarkable about Michelle Akers was that she didn’t dominate in just one position for the United States, but two.

    After making her debut in 1985, it was from the 1990s onwards she really caught the eye. She scored 48 goals in just 32 caps between 1990 and 1991.

    After being diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue syndrome, Akers moved back from a forward role into a more defensive midfield role, where she excelled, playing a key role as the United States won the first World Cup in 1991 and their second in 1999. She finished with 153 caps and 105 goals in her international career.

    10. Christine Sinclair (Canada)

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    Now aged 40, Sinclair will be appearing in a record-breaking sixth World Cup this summer. It is likely she will add to her world record marks of 323 international caps and 190 goals. She played a key role in Canada’s women collecting Olympic Gold in 2020.

    Undoubtedly the greatest Canadian player to play the game, she has been lauded by her peers. She’s a 14-time Canadian player of the year and was picked in the CONCACAF Women’s Team of the Decade for 2011 to 2020.

    While those ten listed above fully deserve their place, there are a number of players on the brink of cracking the top ten…

    Possible Top Ten Players In Years To Come?

    • Lucy Bronze (England)
    • Beth Meade (England)
    • Vivianne Miedema (Netherlands)
    • Ada Hegerberg (Norway)
    • Alex Morgan (United States)
    • Megan Rapinoe (United States)
    • Formiga (Brazil)
    • Christiane Endler (Chile)
    • Amandine Henry (France)
    • Sam Kerr (Australia)
    • Hege Riise (Norway)
    • Pia Sundhage (Sweden)
    • Sissi (Brazil)
    • Carin Jennings (United States)
    • Lena Oberdorf (Germany)
    • Joy Fawcett (United States)
    • Hope Solo (United States)
    • Kristine Lilly (United States)
    • Nadine Angerer (Germany)
    • Homare Sawa (Japan)

    World Cup Betting Latest

    Bet365 Sport will be one of a number of bookmakers offering bets on the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

    If you are not yet a member, sign up now with the latest bet365 bonus code to claim your welcome offer!

    The tournament starts on the 20th July with New Zealand facing Norway in the opening game, so tune in then for all the latest betting!

    And a chance to see some of the top 10 players in this list, in action!

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