Alexia Putellas, Beth Mead top Guardian’s 100 best players

Alexia Putellas kisses the trophy after winning the Copa de La Reina with FC Barcelona. (Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

Alexia Putellas took the top spot on The Guardian’s 100 Best Footballers list for the second year in a row.

The 28-year-old Spanish star becomes the first player to top the list in consecutive years after finishing the 2021-22 domestic season with 18 goals and 15 assists.

Also for the second year in a row, no American player cracked the top 15 in the list. For 2022, the highest U.S. player is Catarina Macario, who comes in at No. 16. In 2021, Sam Mewis was the highest finisher at No. 20, but she has dropped off the list due to injury.

Macario leapt 71 spots from No. 87 in 2021. The 23-year-old scored 14 goals for Lyon en route to the Division 1 Féminine title, and she also scored nine goals en route to the Champions League title. Only an ACL injury she suffered in June kept her from a spot in the top 10, The Guardian noted.

NWSL MVP Sophia Smith entered for the first time at No. 21, making her the highest debut on this year’s list. Three judges had even put the Portland Thorns forward at No. 1 in the world.

Also from the U.S. women’s national team, Alex Morgan returned to the rankings at No. 18 after missing the list in 2021. In total, 10 USWNT players made the list. Lindsey Horan came in at No. 29, Rose Lavelle at No. 33, Mallory Pugh at No. 36, Trinity Rodman at No. 47, Naomi Girma at No. 66, Megan Rapinoe at No. 70 and Becky Sauerbrunn at No. 93.

One other American player made the cut, though she has not broken into the USWNT lineup: Mia Fishel placed at No. 88. The 21-year-old won the Liga MX Golden Boot with 17 goals in 2022, and USWNT coach Vlatko Andonovski said she “is on our depth chart.”

Beth Mead came in second. She rocketed up from the 75th best player in the world in 2021 after she helped lead England to the Euros title this summer.

Australia’s Sam Kerr held strong at No. 3, while Spain’s Aitana Bonmatí jumped six spots to No. 4. Lena Oberdorf moved from No. 44 all the way up to No. 5, but Vivianne Miedema fell four spots to No. 6.

England stars Georgia Stanway (No. 26), Alessia Russo (No. 39) and Mary Earps (No. 48) all entered the rankings for the first time.