Cristiano Ronaldo was not the only winner of the Fifa Ballon d’Or last night. While he, Lionel Messi and Franck Ribery drew the spotlight, thirty-five-year-old Nadine Angerer was crowned the best player in the woman’s game.
The Germany captain has had a stunning year, leading her national side to their sixth successive European Championship. She is the first goalkeeper to win the award, and has a reputation for producing world class performances in high pressure scenarios, as Norway discovered in the European Final last year.
Angerer excelled against the Scandinavians, saving two penalties, to cement her reputation as the best goalkeeper in the world. Both Trine Ronning and Solveig Gulbranson were left red faced as Angerer saved their spot kicks, the German producing a player of the match performance to preserve her side’s one goal lead.
It’s not the first time she’s saved a penalty in a major final either. Back in 2007 the shot stopper denied Brazil’s Marta, one of the candidates for this year’s Ballon d’Or, to allow her team to win the biggest competition in the women’s game.
She has been a figure on the international level for a staggering seventeen years, the longest in German history, and has amassed 127 caps to date.
The skyward trajectory of her international career is a relatively recent phenomenon though. She was forced to spend the best part of a decade as the understudy to Germany’s legendary goalkeeper Silke Rottenburg. She travelled to four tournaments in that time but was unable to play a single minute of football at any of the finals. She got her chance when Rottenburg sustained a knee injury in 2007, and she has not looked back since.
She will be making the move to America this year, having signed a deal with US side Portland Thorns in time for the new season. Her club career has previously included stints at Bayern Munich, Turbine Potsdam and Frankfurt to name a few.
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- Stephen Carter