No Canadians included in FIFPro Women’s World XI

Lieke Martens of the Netherlands applauses after her team defeating Denmark at the Women's Euro 2017 final soccer match in Enschede, the Netherlands, Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017. (Patrick Post/AP)

Lieke Martens of the Netherlands took home the most votes to headline the FIFPro Women’s World XI, which was released on Thursday.

Canadians Kadeisha Buchanan and Ashley Lawrence were among the 55 shortlisted on March 2, but finished 16th and 12th, respectively, among defenders. Christine Sinclair was not among those shortlisted for a Canadian team that is currently fifth in the FIFA world rankings.

Buchanan was named Canadian female soccer player of the year after becoming the first Canadian to win the UEFA Women’s Champions League championship with French club side FCF Olympique Lyonnais.

The 22-year-old also won the French Cup earlier in May, defeating compatriot Lawrence’s PSG in the final.

Four other players from Lyon made the XI.

After 11 straight Canadian female player of the year awards for Sinclair, Buchanan has now won two of the last three awards.

Martens, who also plays for Barcelona, has become the new face of women’s soccer after leading the Dutch to glory at Euro 2017, scoring three goals and winning the Golden Ball (best player award). She won the Best FIFA Women’s Player award this past October, and is also the current holder of the UEFA Women’s Player of the Year.

“It is a huge honour,” Lieke Martens told FIFPro. “I am a little surprised that I received the most votes of all players. I like it, but I know that there are so many very good players like Pernille Harder, Eugenie le Sommer, Ada Hegerberg and many others. I played an important role in the success of the Dutch national team and now people know that I can play very well.”

Other familiar faces to make the final cut were Brazil’s Marta and U.S.A.’s Alex Morgan.

A legend of the game, many expected the now 32-year-old Marta to have retired by now, but she reiterated her desire to maintain her standing among the world’s elite.

“This shows I can still play at the top level,” Marta told FIFPro. “I’m very happy. It’s also motivation for me to keep pushing myself. Women’s football is becoming more competitive so it’s harder to stay at the top. You have to have a lot of perseverance to stay consistent. I have that in my character: fighting spirit.”

Over 4,100 female first-division footballers in 45 countries voted for the World XI based on 2017 performances for the third year running.

Here’s a breakdown of the final team by position:

Goalkeeper: Hedvig Lindahl (Sweden/Chelsea)

Defenders: Lucy Bronze (England/Lyon), Nilla Fischer (Sweden/Wolfsburg), Wendie Renard (France/Lyon), Irene Paredes (Spain/PSG)

Midfielders: Camille Abily (France/Lyon), Dzsenifer Marozsán (Germany/Lyon), Marta Vieira da Silva (Brazil/Orlando Pride)

Forwards: Pernille Harder (Denmark/Wolfsburg), Lieke Martens (Netherlands/Barcelona), Alex Morgan (U.S.A./Orlando Pride)

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