By Spanish women’s football expert Chantal Reyes
5. Lucía García (Athletic Club & Spain) 🔴⚪⚫ & 🇪🇸
Though the talents of the Basque-born attacker were already familiar to fans of the Spanish women’s game, Lucía García’s vibrant displays at this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup thrust her into the global spotlight. The youngest player selected for Jorge Vilda’s Spain squad, this season should see her shine still further – her confidence buoyed by finishing as Athletic Club’s 13-goal top scorer last campaign and her eye-catching (and match-changing) performances for La Selección on French soil.
Still something of a rough diamond, her speed, technique, one-on-one ability and nose for goal – among other qualities – mean she has all the ingredients required to become a genuinely top-class player, and not just domestically.
4. Sofia Jakobsson (CD Tacón & Sweden) ⚪ & 🇸🇪
The announcement that the Primera Iberdrola is set to welcome men’s football giants Real Madrid, this season competing under the banner of CD Tacón, has opened the door for players of the calibre of Sofia Jakobsson – one of the stars of the Sweden squad that claimed bronze at France 2019. Alongside fellow Tacón new signing and international team-mate Kosovare Asslani, who also sparkled at the #FIFAWWC, Jakobsson looks set to be one of this season’s standout attacking players.
Snapped up from Montpellier HSC, Sweden’s No10 has already been amongst the goals for Tacón in pre-season and shown glimpses of her undoubted ability. Critics have pointed to a certain inconsistency, with her dynamic performances in the WWC knockout phase in France (including the winning goal in the match for third place versus England) contrasting with quieter showings in the group stage, but there is no questioning the 29-year-old’s status as a player to watch as Tacón/Real Madrid aim to make their mark on a new era for Spanish women’s club football.
3. Jenni Hermoso (FC Barcelona & Spain) 🔴🔵 & 🇪🇸
The top division’s leading scorer in each of the last three seasons she has played in Spain, Jennifer Hermoso’s record is such that she will surely be up there amongst the Primera Iberdrola’s sharpshooters on her return to FC Barcelona. After four prolific seasons for the Catalan club (2013-17), Hermoso spent a year at big-spending Paris Saint-Germain, where she grew as a player despite not having the impact she would have hoped for.
Back in Spain at Atlético de Madrid last term, with her 24 league goals key to helping the club she first played for in 2006 retain the title, her Barça team-mates, new and old, are sure to relish her unerring ability to lay on goals and assists in industrial quantities. Capable of making flashes of skill look almost nonchalant, the 29-year-old forward, most at home as a false nine or second striker, will be determined to help Barcelona end a run of four seasons without a league title.
2. Virginia Torrecilla (Atlético de Madrid & Spain) 🔴⚪ & 🇪🇸
The return of Virginia Torrecilla, after four seasons with Montpellier, is wonderful news for both Spanish football and particularly champions Atlético de Madrid – who have secured the services of one of Spain’s best players at France 2019. Endowed with excellent vision and reading of the game, allied to an imposing physique and level of footballing maturity that have grown in her time abroad, 24-year-old Torrecilla (who turns 25 on 4 September) knows what it is like to taste success in Spain – having won three Ligas and two Copas de la Reina with Barça before moving to France. Now at Atleti, she will join forces with the likes of Ángela Sosa (the top flight’s MVP in 2017/18 and 2018/19) and Amanda Sampedro to form a fearsome midfield, one which Colchonero fans hope will drive them to a fourth successive league crown.
1. Caroline Graham Hansen (FC Barcelona & Norway) 🔴🔵 & 🇳🇴
Brought in from German powerhouses VfL Wolfsburg, Caroline Graham Hansen has all the attributes to be the outstanding signing of this summer’s transfer market. Signed up for the next two seasons with the Catalan giants, the 24-year-old Norwegian wide-player is famed for her speed, distance-shooting and unstoppable dribbling skills. Though occasionally wasteful in her finishing, with clear chances missed more often than she would like, Graham Hansen makes up for it with assists – laying on 27 goals for her team-mates last season, more than any other player in Europe’s top leagues.
Her signing and that of Hermoso are massive statements of intent from a Barça side desperate to end their recent league-title drought while edging closer to the standards set by Olympique Lyonnais – winner of the last four UEFA Women’s Champions Leagues, the latest with an emphatic 4-1 win over the Azulgranas themselves.
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