The year 2019 sees the biggest female competition in the World come on display, with the best of female players all around the globe representing their countries. Some of them veterans. while others are youngsters with potentials, all of whom will converge in France for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in July.
Although, Norwegian and Olympique Lyonnais forward who is also the current female Ballon d’Or winner, Ada Hegerberg will not be at the Mundial due to personal reasons, citing poor treatment of female football players in Norway as her reason for opting out of the National team.
Irrespective, there are various other World class players who could as well light up the tournament, some are household names, others are pretty up and coming. We take a look at some of them
LIEKE MARTENS – Netherlands
One of the biggest and prominent names in female football, Martens ply her trade with FC Barcelona in the Feminine division of the Spanish La Liga, shooting into prominence in 2017, after winning both the FIFA Women’s Player of the year and the UEFA Women’s Player of the year.
This year’s edition makes her second World Cup appearance after featuring in 2015 where she scored once, however she is expected to hit her stride in France at the age of 26, where she is likely to push the Dutch women into the knockout stages and possibly a final four spot.
She won’t be alone however, as the likes of Vivianne Miedema and Danielle Van De Donk will be providing the support from the middle of the park.
ASISAT OSHOALA – Nigeria
Arguably now a World-class player, Oshoala broke into prominence at the 2014 FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup pushing the Falconets to the finals where they lost to Germany in the final.
Since then she has consistent and has played in England for Liverpool and Arsenal Ladies, before moving to Barcelona through a loan stint from (Dalian Quanjian F.C.) China. The three times African women’s player of the year has scored 8 goals in 10 games including one in the final of the UEFA Women’s Champions League, which has seen her become a reckoning force.
Blessed with pace and trickery, Oshoala will prove problematic for Nigeria’s Group A opponents as they bid to make it into the semifinals for the first time. If the Super Falcons are to make it that far, Oshoala who will be playing in her second finals will be pivotal, alongside Francesca Ordega who starred at the African Women’s Championship in 2018 in Ghana.
EUGENIE LE SOMMER – France
30-year old Le Sommer is a veteran and the focal point of the French team’s attack, Playing in front of home fans will be of huge advantage to her confidence level as they bid to win the Women’s World Cup for the first time.
The Olympique Lyonnais forward started the Uefa women’s Champions League final match on May 18th but was unable to register her name on the scoresheet, however she remains the French’s biggest threat in front of goals as the like of Gredge Mbock Bathy and Wendy Reinard hold the forth at the back.
THEMBI KGATLANA – South Africa
After several years of wait, South Africa will be playing at their first-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup, partly due to Thembi Kgatlana’s qualities and her rich vein of form for the past two years.
The Beijing Phoenix striker scored 5 goals in six matches at the African Women’s Championship in Ghana last year as the Banyana Banyana made it to the finals thus securing a place at the World Cup. She was also instrumental as the South Africans beat rivals Nigeria in the opening group game of the same tournament.
Club teammate, Linda Mothlalo would also be a much-needed ally if the debutants are to make it out of a group of death that has China, Germany and Spain.
MARTA – Brazil
One of the Greatest female football players of all time will be playing at her fifth women’s World Cup and only teammate Formiga has played more, having featured in all FIFA Women’s World Cup since the inception of the female World Cup in 1999.
Marta is the record goalscorer of the FIFA Women’s World Cup with 15 goals ahead of Abby Wambach (USA) and Brigit Prinz (Germany), both who have 14 goals and she looks likely to pull further clear if she adds to the tally in France.
Football fans will be looking out for what the Brazilian still has left in her coffers and also to look out for in the Brazilian team is 24 -year old Andressinha who is also another live-wire for the South Americans.
FRAN KIRBY – England
The 2017/18 PFA and FWA Player of the Year has enjoyed an incredible four years since her World Cup debut in 2015. She contributed 25 goals – including an excellent strike in the FA Cup final at Wembley – as Emma Hayes’ side won the League and Cup double last season.
Kirby has truly made a name for herself, having terrorised defenders since her breakthrough aged 19, she played a major role on the road to France, with a hand in seven strikes(2 goals and 5 assists) in the qualifying series.
The former Reading forward has 12 goals in 37 matches for England and will be hoping to add more to her World Cup tally after scoring against Mexico in the group stage in 2015.
GEALLE ENGANAMOUIT – Cameroon
Cameroon‘s biggest protagonist on their run to the Round of 16 at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada, Enganamouit scored a hattrick as they beat Ecuador by 6 goals to 1 in one of their matches.
However, apart from the 2016 African Women’s Championship which the Central African nation hosted and reached its final, Enganamouit has been largely off form since then due to a niggling injury, especially at the AWCON in Ghana last year, where they could only finish third to qualify for the world cup.
It is then left to be seen how the one time African player of the year will perform at her second appearance at the Mundial.
JODY BROWN & KHADIJAT SHAW – Jamaica
Jamaica’s qualification for the FIFA Women’s World Cup was masterminded by two quality but extremely young players, one of which is Jody Brown, a 17-year old winger who scored 6 goals in the qualifiers for the World Cup including a hattrick against Cuba. She also made the CONCACAF Women’s 11 of the year.
For Khadija Shaw, there might be a question on the quality of teams she faced in the qualifications for the World Cup but the 21-year-old scored 19 goals in 12 games becoming the highest goalscorer of the entire FIFA Women’s world cup qualifiers.
If Jamaica are to make any meaningful impact against Italy, Brazil and Australia both players had better be in their best form.
Top 15 Highest Paid Players In Ligue 1
Ligue 1 no doubt harbors quite a number of talented players, as such it’s quite understandable for those considered to be world-class players among them to cash out hugely on what they earn at the end of the month.
As of late, the players’ salaries have given indications of solid development, on account of the tremendous income pouring into the game. The fierce rivalry between the country’s top football clubs has brought the nature of the competition higher than ever. The league has more than its own fair share of highly paid players.
Here is a rundown of the top 15 highest-paid players in the Ligue 1
- Neymar Jr – (Paris Saint Germain, – €3.06 Per Month )
Behind Ronaldo and Messi, the Brazilian forward is regarded as the third-best player in world football since moving from Santos to Barcelona in 2013 for a deal reported worth €86.2million.
After apparently growing and widening his status as a footballer with his achievement on and off the pitch, it was evident that the former Puskas Award winner would go on to attract top elite clubs.
With the Parisian club brimming with a lot of cash to flex muscles with high spending clubs, it was just a matter of time before Neymar would join them. Fast forward to 2017, the Selecao captain signed for PSG for a world record transfer fee worth €222million, and since then he’s been an important figure of both the club and their project.
Amidst transfer rumors of him returning to his old home Barcelona, plus the fact that the Parisian are also ready to offer him a new deal that would tie him down with the French side for at least another three seasons.
- Kylian Mbappe – (Paris Saint Germain, € 1.91m Per Month)
As a World Cup winner and one of the best prospects in world football, it’s quite understandable for Mbappe to be among the highest-paid players in Ligue 1 and Paris Saint Germain. The 2018 World Cup winner burst into the scene as a young player for Monaco, making his professional debut in 2015 at the age of 15.
The Frenchman signed for the Parisian club in 2017 on loan, which was later made permanent in 2018. He has shown to be a great prospect for both the club and their project in dominating the Ligue 1 and also flex muscles with the top clubs in Europe.
His permanent transfer to Paris Saint Germain is reported to be worth €180million, making him both the second most expensive player and most expensive teenager. Since joining the Ligue 1 Champions permanently, the 22-year-old has scored over 120 goals for the Parisian club.
However, amidst the rumor of Real Madrid prepping up to break the bank in their quest to bring him down to the Bernabeu, the World Cup winner is still actively the second biggest earner in the league and of course Paris Saint Germain.
- Correa Marquinhos & Marco Verratti – (Paris Saint Germain, €1.2m Per Month)
Since the departure of top players such as Edinson Cavani, Zlatan, and recently Thiago Silva, Marquinhos’s status has risen from being a mere squad player in the dressing room into a leader, captain, and one of the best gladiator of the club.
As a 19-year-old teenager, the Brazilian was signed in 2013 on a five-year deal by Paris Saint Germain from AS Roma for a fee of around €31.4million. And as reported by BBC Sport, the deal was said to be the highest transfer fee for a teenager then, while Sky also reports it to be the then fifth highest transfer.
The current form of the Brazilian makes him rank as one of Europe’s most valuable players, most especially as a player who is currently plying his trade with the best team in France.
According to the transfer market rating, Marquinhos market value currently stands at €70million, as such with his years of experience and playing over 313 matches for the Parisian, it’s no surprise that the club captain takes home €1.2m per month tied with the Italian on the same amount.
As for the Italian, he’s also been a very instrumental player for the team since joining the club nine years ago. There have always been rumors concerning his future, either joining Barcelona or go back to Italy, but as it stands his current contract with Paris Saint Germain would expire in 2024.
- Angel Di Maria – (Paris Saint Germain, €1.1m Per Month)
Since joining the Parisian for €63million after a disappointing stint with Manchester United in 2015, the Argentine winger has continued to prove to the world that he’s still one of the best players in football since leaving Real Madrid.
Di Maria isn’t just rank among the highest earner for doing nothing, he earns his pay through his brilliant performances over the years since joining them, accumulating a total of 251 appearances scoring over 88 goals and 104 assists.
The former Real Madrid winger may not stay in the Ligue 1 with Paris Saint Germain for three years or more, as he’s already moving close to the end of his career. However, with his deal still running that makes him the fourth-highest earner in the league.
- Keylor Navas – (Paris Saint Germain, €1m Per Month)
When Navas joined Madrid from Levante in the summer of 2014, no one ever thought he’s going to achieve quite a number of success with Los Blancos based on where he was coming from and his antecedent as a goalkeeper.
After a successful stint with Los Merengues, the imminent arrival of Thibaut Courtois means the Costa Rican goalkeeper days at Real Madrid are numbered.
With his achievement at Real Madrid, it was evident that the Costa Rican won’t find it hard to get good European suitor to come by, as such Paris Saint Germain came calling for his services in 2019 having been told he won’t be Real Madrid number one going forward into the new season.
Following Navas’s move to the French capital, it means his salary would be on the high side based on his achievement and reputation as a Champions League winner with arguably the biggest club in Europe.
As a Paris Saint Germain player, he earns €1m per month, making the Costa Rican one of the highest-paid players in Ligue 1
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- Mauro Icardi – (Paris Saint Germain, €800,000 Per Month)
The imminent departure of El Matador when Icardi joined Paris Saint Germain on loan means the responsibility of goalscoring would be on the shoulder of the Argentine. The former Inter Milan forward made his loan permanent with the PSG following a strong start in Paris.
The Argentine and controversy certainly go hand in hand based on his antecedent with his previous clubs. Everywhere he goes he has always shown he could lead the line perfectly, and since he joined the Parisian permanently no report of controversy has been recorded concerning the former Nerazzurri captain.
Icardi may not be the poster boy of PSG just like his days at Inter, that doesn’t make him less of a player in the dressing room among other star players like Neymar and Mbappe who are no doubt the face of the club.
- Leandro Paredes – (Paris Saint Germain, €750,000 Per Month)
Juan Bernat – (Paris Saint Germain, €700,000 Per Month)
Presnel Kimpembe – (Paris Saint Germain, €670,000 Per Month)
Ander Herrera – (Paris Saint Germain, €650,000 Per Month)
Wissam Ben Yedder – (Monaco, €650,000 Per Month)
Cesc Fabregas – (Monaco, €600,000 Per Month)
Julian Draxler – (Paris Saint Germain, €600,000 Per Month)
Idrissa Guaye – (Paris Saint Germain, €500,000 Per Month)
10 Legendary Jersey Sponsors In Football History
The upsurge of Jersey sponsors during the ’80s and 90s is an explicatory key to the evolution of modern football.
Football history will always give credits to an Uruguayan club team (Penarol), for introducing the concept of jersey sponsorship during the ’50s. However, most European Leagues vehemently opposed the concept of placing a sponsor’s logo on football jerseys and prohibited teams from the ideas other than the team name on their jersey until the late ’70s.
Eintracht Braunschweig and Jagermeister, a foremost German liqueur company unlocked the pathway for jersey’s sponsorship. Guenter Mast, the CEO offered a significant amount of sponsorship deal for 5 years to put Jägermeister’s logo on Eintracht Braunschweig’s jersey.
After the deal was penned, the club requested approval from the German Football Association (DFB) to put Jägermeister’s logo on its jersey. Unfortunately, DFB opposed the concept and only allowed the club’s logo on the jersey.
However, the club (Eintracht Braunschweig) was swept off by the lucrative deal and didn’t want to miss the golden opportunity. Braunschweig changed its official logo to that of Jägermeister, the German federation was shocked but didn’t have the power to overturn such mischief since it’s now the club’s official logo.
Months later, DFB finally approved the sponsor’s logo on the jersey and that pave way for others to see the financial benefits that come along.
But as things changed gradually with the revamped of the Champions League, football clubs began to see how attracting and mouthwatering a shirt sponsorship deal could be for their club in bringing to fore financial profit and enlarging the coast of both parties financially and in term of popularity.
Modern football clubs has undoubtedly been emblazoned by mostly betting firm as their principal sponsors, while before it’s was about beverages firm, airlines, and automobiles companies. It’s all about the money, who cares if it’s unethical or not.
Let’s revisit some of the legendary jersey sponsors in the history of football
- Manchester United – (SHARP, 1982-2000)
Manchester United is no doubt the biggest club in England, and when it comes to commercialization you would always find the Red Devils at the forefront.
Since the high-profile sponsorship deal between the Red Devils and Sharp ended 20 years ago, a lot of water has gone under the bridge. With the era of Vodafone for the 2000-01 season after the Sharp’s long association with the Red Devils came to an end.
Then after the era of Vodafone, then came AIG, AON, and now Chevrolet, though the Red Devils have just sealed a new deal worth £235million after both parties agreed on a huge five-year deal with TeamViewer.
Having mentioned all of the shirt sponsorship the Red Devils had in time past, it’s no doubt that the electronic company Sharp was the club’s longest and legendary serving shirt sponsor.
With lots of unprecedented success stories to have nostalgic feelings about, throughout their partnership under Sir Alex Ferguson and till date no sponsorship deal has ever covered such a glorious era for the Old Trafford side.
- Inter Milan – (PIRELLI, 1995-Present)
Pirelli and the Nerazzurri have no doubt been an inseparable duo since 1995, a sponsorship deal that has spanned over 26 years in the world of football. The Italian tyre manufacturer has been a loyal partner with Internazionale over the years, and it has become a synonymous entity with the Nerazzurri.
As beautiful as both party’s partnership has been working smoothly for two decades and a half, it’s quite unfortunate that the deal value at around £10million per season would come to a conclusion at the end of the 2020-21 season. During the good years, both have enjoyed a very smooth partnership with countless successes such as the Seria A’s Cup titles, and the Champions League.
The Italian Tyre manufacturer isn’t just marked out on this list because of its longevity, it was marked out simply because of its legendary status with Inter and the football world entirely. Pirelli was also legendary because of its aesthetic on the Inter Milan Jersey and the admiration it brings to the fore when fans order for it.
What further marked out Pirelli is the fact that the black and blue shirt stripes with the Pirelli logo boldly printed on it have been donned by legendary football superstars such as O Fenomeno, Ivan Zamorano, Taribo West, Javier Zanetti, Recoba, Ronaldo De Lima, and many more.
Pirelli is no doubt one of the iconic shirt sponsorship in the history of the beautiful game of football.
- Napoli – (Mars, 1988-1991)
Maradona and the entire Napoli team were no doubt the darling of the Partenopei fans in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The great Maradona took the Partenopei club by the scruff of the neck and dragged them to challenging on the homefront which ended with a positive result by winning the Scudetto, and European football became a norm for the fan base of Napoli.
During that period that Napoli was punching above their weight, it’s was the chocolate bar company “Mars” that was boldly printed on the shirt of the Naples side, with the legendary Diego Armando Maradona leading them to every war donning the shirt with the famous number 10 boldly written behind Jersey.
What really marked Mars out and made it one of the legendary jerseys sponsors in Italy then was that it’s the go-to shirt choice for every young football enthusiast across the country. More so it’s was during that period Maradona’s legendary status with the Partenopei took center stage when he singlehandedly won the UEFA Cup and the Scudetto for them.
Sadly for Mars, Maradona’s dominant spell in Italy didn’t last forever which also brought an end to Mars as Napoli’s principal shirt sponsor in 1991.
- Bayern Munich – (OPEL, 1980-2002)
The Bavarian giant and the car company OPEL partnership came to an end when OPEL cited a new advertising direction. During the principal sponsorship of the Bavarian giant shirt, OPEL was one of the most recognizable shirt sponsors plastered on the team shirt of the most successful club in Germany at the time.
In 2002 Die Roten decided to redesign their shirt, while their main sponsor OPEL also decided not to renew its $13.5million a year contract with Bayern Munich has been in partnership with Die Roten since the late 1980s.
OPEL stepped down when Bayern Munich found another new sponsor in 2002, though both parties ain’t on the same page anymore.
However, their time together produced quite an unprecedented success with the club’s great donning the jersey plastered with OPEL in its front.
- Real Madrid – (Teka, 1992-2001)
Los Blanco’s first shirt sponsor was Zanussi, who agreed for the 1982-83, 1983-84, and 1984-85 seasons. Following those seasons of been the principal sponsors, the club was also sponsored by Parmalat, and Otaysa before the long-term deal was signed with Teka in 1992.
In 2001, Los Blancos ended their contract with Teka to signed a new contract with Siemens Mobile in 2002, then with other shirt sponsors which followed since then. However, the era of Teka with Los Blancos did come with lots of nostalgic moments for many Real Madrid faithful that could still relate with that time.
Real Madrid may be enjoying a bigger deal with their current shirt sponsor in Fly Emirates in terms of the financial profit, however, the Teka shirt sponsorship era was no doubt an iconic time for Los Blancos so making this list wasn’t a mistake.
- Parma – (Parmalat, 1998-2000)
Parma and Parmalat are undoubtedly the best sponsorship deal that ever happened to one of the best Italian sides in the ’90s. Great players such as Gianfranco Zola, Hernan Crespo, Gigi Buffon, Sebastian Veron, Lilian Thuram, Cannavaro, all donned the jersey with Parmalat boldly printed on it.
Throughout the 1980s and 90’s the horizon of Parmalat exploded onto the scene, spreading its wings all over the globe. Parmalat went on to become one of the jewels of the Italian commerce industry, and a model for other companies to emulate.
AC Parma and Parmalat era can be said to be one of football legendary jersey partnership because of the self-respect Italians had for them. In 1991 the Tanzi family bought 98 percent share of Parma following the untimely death of then-President Ernesto Ceresini, with one of the Ceresini’s sons holding on to the remaining stake.
During that era, Parma was by no means one of the best sides in Italian football, spent most of their time playing in the Seria C and B. With the arrival of Parmalat owned by the Tanzi family, Parma was bankrolled and they went on to achieved mouthwatering successes together with lots of great players.
- Liverpool – (Carlsberg, 1992-2010)
Danish beer company Carlsberg is probably the best shirt sponsor in the Kop’s history, with the kind of aesthetic feels it comes with when Liverpool’s players don it.
No doubt Carlsberg may have come with plenty of years of mediocrity success wise with the Anfield side, however, one beautiful night that would forever linger in the memories of all Liverpool’s faithful was the miracle of Istanbul in the Champions League, which definitely make Carlsberg one of the iconic shirt sponsorship in football.
During the period in which the partnership of Liverpool and Carlsberg was still existing, the Danish beer company never relent in bringing the relationship of both parties to life through global and local activations and events with their fans across the globe.
Before their iconic partnership came to an end in 2010, Carlsberg’s partnership with the Kop produced a lot of on-field success winning the Champions League in 2005. Two FA Cup’s, four League Cups, and one UEFA Cup in 2001 with great players such as Ian Rush, Robbie Fowler, and Steven Gerrard donning the legendary shirt.
- AC Milan – (OPEL, 1994-2006)
The German automobile manufacturer didn’t only enjoy stints sponsoring Bayern Munich and Paris Saint Germain in the ’90s, their time with the Italian giant was no doubt a period of great dominance of Italian football with a bunch of talented players donning the shirt.
During the 12 year partnership with the German company, the Rossoneri claimed four Scudetto, one Coppa Italia, and two Champions League titles.
Every football enthusiast who saw Milan played then would agree to the fact that those period were no means a time of dominance for the Rossoneri, with fantastic players such as Andriy Shevchenko, Maldini, Nesta, Seedorf, Kaka, and co that tore the Seria A apart with their swashbuckling football style.
It’s funny how Liverpool’s greatest Champions League night came in Carlsberg-clad jersey, then AC Milan’s lowest recede fell on that same night in Istanbul. The most feared collection of superstars in football shed tears into an Opel embroiled jersey, wondering whether the beer effect (Carlsberg) had a toll on them.
Even though Milan and OPEL have gone their separate ways, many football enthusiasts and Milan faithful still can’t forget those dominant eras under Carlo Ancelotti.
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- PSV Eindhoven – (Phillips, 1981-2016)
Phillips and PSV Eindhoven partnership is undoubtedly one of the unforgettable iconic partnerships in football. The electronic company stops sponsoring the shirt of PSV Eindhoven in 2016 after 30 years of magnificent partnership with a report saying Phillips wants to focus more on medical equipment than consumer electronics.
Although Phillips is still committed to the club as an important club partner of the Dutch side, though not as shirt sponsor but as stadium and other important secondary sponsorship deal with the club.
Been a real football enthusiast who saw the Dutch side in the ’80s and 90s what comes to mind is PSV’s colors that were awesomely complimented by the Philips logo for such a long time, that almost everyone assumed it was part of the jersey itself.
And not forgetting the glorious heydey of the club that played a host of great players such as Philip Cocu, Luc Nilis, R9, and Ruud Van Nistelrooy.
No doubt PSV Eindhoven’s partnership with Phillips definitely brought huge success and recognition to both parties, and also grow on the world stage flexing muscles with some of the biggest clubs/sponsorship rivals in Europe on the biggest of the stage.
- Boca Juniors – (Quilmes, 1995-2001)
The Argentine brewery company was founded in 1988 by the German immigrant Otto Bemberg, both parties came into partnership in 1995 to make sure the biggest club in Argentina had an on-field dominance in Argentine football.
The Quilmes partnership started immediately Nike became La Bombonera side kit sponsor, leading to a wave of fresh kits for the South American most respected club.
The reason why Quilmes makes it into our top list was that during their partnership with Boca Juniors the club enjoyed an on-field successful period. The scribbled font used in printing the name on the shirt goes perfectly well with the famous blue and yellow jersey.
Throughout the partnership of Quilmes and Boca, the shirt was donned by great players like the great Maradona, Juan Roman Riquelme, Carlos Tevez, and co who made the Bombonera side proud.
- Fiorentina & (Nintendo, 1997-1999)
- Newcastle & (Newcastle Brown Ale, 1994-2000)
- Borussia Dortmund & (Die Continentale, 1986-1999)
- Juventus & (Jeep, Since 2012)