Star striker Vivianne Miedema said it was “unexpected” to be named BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year 2021.
The 25-year-old has enjoyed yet another record-breaking year for both Arsenal and the Netherlands.
Miedema finished last season with 18 goals and six assists, behind only Sam Kerr of Chelsea. She also made history by breaking the all-time WSL goalscoring record, overtaking Nikita Parris’s tally of 49 goals.
The Dutch star is still top of the leaderboard with 66 goals, and recently became the first player to score against every team in the WSL.
Miedema was also sensational during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. She smashed Christine Sinclair’s six-goal record at a single Games, scoring 10 times in four games for the Netherlands.
After winning the public vote for the BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year accolade, Miedema was surprised at training by Arsenal legend Kelly Smith.
“I thought we were going to have a long, boring meeting, but it was this instead,” Miedema joked to BBC Sport.
“It’s a bit unexpected to be honest. It’s pretty cool to win something like this, and with the fans voting it’s extra special.”
Australia and Chelsea forward Sam Kerr finished second in the public vote, while Spain and Barcelona midfielder Alexia Putellas came third.
Canada and Paris St-Germain defender Ashley Lawrence was also nominated, alongside Norway and Barcelona winger Caroline Graham Hansen.
Four of these players, barring Graham Hansen, are nominated for the Ballon d’Or Féminin, which is set to be awarded in Paris this evening.
In addition, Miedema was on the shortlist for the WSL Player of the Season and the Best FIFA Women’s Player award, and she could well add another title to her BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year accolade.
“Something like this always comes as a surprise,” Miedema told BBC Sport.
“Having done really well at the Olympics on a personal level has brought a lot of attention to a lot of people, so that’s definitely been a standout for me and obviously I’ve been able to continue that form with Arsenal.
“[The other nominees] are all really good players who’ve had their own success at club and international level so I’m really honoured to have been awarded the player of the year and thanks to the fans.
“After coming back from lockdown the excitement was there to play football again, to be back on the pitch and back in the stadium with the fans. It’s been very enjoyable.”