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Vivianne Miedema Wins BBC Women’s Footballer Of The Year

On winning the award, the 25-year-old forward says: “[It means] a lot obviously, after the year I’ve just had, the year we’ve been having with the team, the Netherlands and Arsenal as well.

It’s pretty cool to win something like this and with the fans voting, it’s extra special!

I got a bit overwhelmed, but yeah really excited. We’ve got amazing fans, we’ve seen that at our games. As I said, I’m honoured to win it and thanks to the fans.”

BBC presenter Maz Farookhi surprised Vivianne with the result during a training session at Arsenal.

The trophy was presented to her by former Arsenal striker and club legend, Kelly Smith.

Miedema was voted the winner from a shortlist of some of the top names in women’s football. Chelsea and Australia striker Sam Kerr came in second, and Alexia Putellas of Barcelona and Spain came in third place in the public vote.

It’s pretty cool to win something like this, and with the fans voting it’s extra special! We’ve got amazing fans, we’ve seen that at our games. As I said, I’m honoured to win it, and thanks to the fans.

— Vivianne Miedema

Barcelona and Norway forward Caroline Graham Hansen, and Paris St Germain and Canada defender, Ashley Lawrence, were also nominated.

This year, Miedema has become the all-time leading goal scorer in the FA Women’s Super League, was Golden Boot winner at this year’s Tokyo Olympics and has now scored 25 goals in 21 games in the UEFA Women’s Champions League.

Before signing with Arsenal in 2017, Miedema played for Bayern Munich and SC Heerenveen. She has also played for the Netherlands national side since 2013.

Asked what she thought made her stand out from the other nominees of this year’s BBC award, Miedema said: “Having done really well at the Olympics… brought a lot of attention to a lot of people, so I definitely think that’s been a stand-out for me over the last couple of months.

“Obviously I’ve been able to continue that form with Arsenal in the early part of the season. So yeah, they’re all good players who’ve had their own successes at club and international level. I’m really honoured to have been awarded the player of the year!”

Looking back at her achievements in the past 12 months and the year’s highlight moments, Miedema said: “I think the Olympic games [were] really special for us, to be part of a big tournament.

The Chelsea game was really special, the first game at home! And yeah all the goal-scoring records, they’re just there to be broken, and I hope someone else will break them in the future, but right now I just enjoy being on the pitch with this bunch.”

Former Arsenal striker Kelly Smith, who presented Miedema with the BBC award, said of the player: “Just her performances every game she plays, she leads by example.

She is a great finisher; not only is she a fox in the box, but you see her goals, her movement. She’ll peel out to the left and peel out to the right. She’s such a threat and many teams can’t stop her and that’s a world-class player!

I would have loved to [have] played with her. Linking up. But she has been outstanding. She’s had a great season.

The players she’s been up against are top-quality world-class players too, but it’s fully deserved in my opinion to win this award.”

Miedema talked to the BBC about playing again after being in lockdown: “After coming back from lockdown the excitement was really there to play football again, to be back on the pitch, to be back in the stadium with the fans as well, obviously from last summer on, which has been very enjoyable.

As I said, I really needed that lockdown to switch off mentally and also to get fit physically, and that’s definitely helped me through the really busy season last year and this summer.

Right now, as I’ve said, we’re in the flow with Arsenal, and I hope we can continue that as long as we can and just take it game by game.”

Miedema says she is “massively” looking forward to playing in the European Championships this summer, where she will represent the Netherlands: “I mean it’s the big one! It’s our trophy to defend.

We’ve been obviously going through a big transformation at the national team as well. It’s something that got postponed a year and you’re really looking forward to it, like as a player that’s the tournament you play for.

That’s what you want to show yourself at, you want to be at as a team, and yeah, I can’t wait to start it all off in the summer.”

When asked how she feels the women’s game has grown over the last 12 months, and about the publicity around it now, Miedema said: “It’s really exciting to be part of the game itself, it’s something we’ve been fighting for, for the last couple of years.

To see the leagues growing not just in England, but Europe, it’s really exciting! I think, with the Euros coming up this summer, it’s going to be a big one.

Again it shines the light on women’s football, which we all need. Women’s football is going to be really exciting in the future and it’s all started over the last couple of years. I’m happy to be part of it and I’m excited to see where it’s going.”

Miedema has been voted the BBC Women’s Footballer Of The Year in the seventh year of the award. Previous winners include Lucy Bronze in 2020, Ada Hegerberg in 2019, Lucy Bronze in 2018, Ada Hegerberg in 2017, Kim Little in 2016, and Asisat Oshoala in 2015.

Liliane Landor, Senior Controller of BBC News International Services and Director of BBC World Service, says: “As a huge football fan and a lifelong Gooner, I was delighted to learn that Vivianne Miedema has won the BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year 2021.

The award is getting bigger each year, reflecting the ever-increasing interest in women’s football. We wish Vivianne all the best in next summer’s European Championships.”