Football Ferns fullback Ali Riley has been recognised by her peers as one of the best female footballers in the world.

Riley, who plays for FC Rosengard in the Swedish top flight, was named as one of 55 players on the shortlist for the 2016 World XI by global players association FIFPro today.

The 29-year-old is one of 20 defenders among the nominees, which have been voted on by more than 3000 players from 47 countries.

The shortlist also included five goalkeepers, 15 midfielders and 15 attackers, with nine players who made the inaugural 2015 World XI again in the mix for the latest edition.

FIFPro will name the new World XI on March 8, which is also International Women’s Day.

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Riley expressed her delight at being named on the shortlist via her Twitter account, posting that she was “speechless for the first time ever”.

Riley’s recognition comes during the running of the FIFA Live Your Goals Week, an initiative aimed at encouraging more females to fall in love with football. Previously held in September, the week has been moved to the beginning of the year for 2017 to coincide with the registration window for winter football and align with New Zealand Football’s ‘Get In’ participation campaign.


In 2016, more than 9000 females were reached through the FIFA Live Your Goals Week in New Zealand as the country’s seven federations ran over 100 festivals nationwide.

Similar festivals have been running all over the country throughout this week as Riley and her Football Ferns team mates prepare to take part in the Cyprus Cup, where they will face champions Austria, Scotland and Korea Republic.

Riley is New Zealand’s fifth-most capped female player of all time and has made over 100 appearances since her debut in 2007, including representing the Football Ferns at three World Cups and three Olympic Games.

2016 Women’s World XI Shortlist

Goalkeepers: Katarzyna Kiedrzynek (Poland, Paris Saint-Germain), Hedvig Lindahl (Sweden, Chelsea), Andreea Paraluta (Romania, Atletico), Tinja-Riikka Korpela (Finland, FC Bayern Munich), Hope Solo (USA, Free agent)

Defenders: Lucy Bronze (England, Manchester City), Kadeisha Buchanan (Canada, Olympique Lyonnais), Stephanie Catley (Australia, Melbourne City), Nilla Fischer (Sweden, VfL Wolfsburg), Sara Gama (Italy, ACF Brescia), Laura Georges (France, Paris Saint-Germain), Stephanie Houghton (England, Manchester City), Julie Johnston (USA, Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (USA, Portland Thorns), Tabea Kemme (Germany, 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam), Ali Krieger (USA, Orlando Pride), Leonie Maier (Germany, FC Bayern Munich), Amel Majri (France, Olympique Lyonnais), Griedge M’Bock (France, Olympique Lyonnais), Wendie Renard (France, Olympique Lyonnais), Irene Paredes (Spain, Paris Saint-Germain), Ali Riley (New Zealand, FC Rosengard), Line Roddik Hansen (Denmark, FC Barcelona), Becky Sauerbrunn (USA, FC Kansas City), Marta Torrejon (Spain, FC Barcelona)

Midfielders: Camille Abily (France, Olympique Lyonnais), Melanie Behringer (Germany, FC Bayern Munich), Veronica Boquete (Spain, Paris Saint-Germain), Sara Björk Gunnarsdottir (Iceland, VfL Wolfsburg), Pernille Harder (Denmark, VfL Wolfsburg), Tobin Heath (USA, Portland Thorns), Jenni Hermoso (Spain, FC Barcelona), Amandine Henry (France, Paris Saint-Germain), Saki Kumagai (Japan, Olympique Lyonnais), Carli Lloyd (USA, Manchester City), Dzsenifer Marozsan (Germany, Olympique Lyonnais), Marta (Brazil, FC Rosengard), Claudia Neto (Portugal, Linköpings FC), Megan Rapinoe (USA, Seattle Reign), Caroline Seger (Sweden, Olympique Lyonnais)

Forwards: Andressa Alves (Brazil, FC Barcelona), Ramona Bachmann (Switzerland, Chelsea), Cristiane (Brazil, Paris Saint-Germain), Shirley Cruz (Costa Rica, Paris Saint-Germain), Caroline Graham Hansen (Norway, VfL Wolfsburg), Ada Hegerberg (Norway, Olympique Lyonnais), Eugenie Le Sommer (France, Olympique Lyonnais), Vivianne Miedema (Netherlands, Bayern), Anja Mittag (Germany, VfL Wolfsburg), Alex Morgan (USA, Olympique Lyonnais), Louisa Necib (France, Retired), Alexandra Popp (Germany, VfL Wolfsburg), Alexia Putellas (Spain, FC Barcelona), Lotta Schelin (Sweden, FC Rosengard), Christine Sinclair (Canada, Portland Thorns)

Posted on Thursday, February 23rd, 2017