The women’s game has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, and the likes of Lucy Bronze, Pernille Harder, Sam Kerr and Wendie Renard are the current stars of the modern game.
But in order for the current crop to thrive on the big stage, so many players had to pave the way when the money was not as good as it is now.
Women’s football has now given players the chance to make a full-time career from the sport, and we take a look at the five best players in history that has helped make the game what it is today.
Mia Hamm – United States
The Alabama native might have finished her playing career in 2004, but she is still widely regarded as one of the best, if not the best female player of all time.
At the peak of her playing career, Hamm was one of the highest-paid players, and she made her international debut at the age of 15, just two years after the USA’s first-ever match.
She won two Olympic Gold medals with the USA, while in 2013, she was inducted into the World Football Hall of Fame.
Marta – Brazil
The 36-year-old has yet to hang up her boots, but she continues to lead by example for both club and country.
Marta has made over 170 appearances for Brazil since her debut in 2002, while she has scored 115 goals in that time.
During her domestic career, she has played for the likes of Santos and Rosengard, while she now wears the colours of Orlando Pride.
Marta has been named FIFA World Player of the Year on six occasions, and some of her fans would argue she is the greatest female player to ever lace a pair of boots.
Birgit Prinz – Germany
Prinz, a former striker, will be in nearly every top-five shortlist, even though the majority of her career was in Germany.
The 44-year-old won two World Cups with Germany, and she sits second in the all-time list of scorers at the tournament, behind Marta.
Prinz’s 14 goals proved her ability at the highest level, and she showed incredible dedication to the German national team, making 214 appearances before retiring in 2011.
Abby Wambach – United States
Wambach is another member of the USA team that makes our shortlist, and it is hard to leave her out thanks to her fantastic record in front of goal.
Wambach has the best scoring return for any USA international, in both the women’s and men’s game.
Her 184 goals will take some beating and she has been recognised for her achievements, having been named the 2012 FIFA World Player of the Year, becoming the first American woman to win the award.
In 2015 she made the Time 100 list as one of the most influential people in the world, and the former striker will always be remembered as one of the USA’s greatest strikers.
Homare Sawa – Japan
It is fair to say that women’s football in Asia would not be as popular if it wasn’t for Japan star Sawa.
Her playing career spanned 24 seasons after she made her club debut for NTV Beleza at the age of 12.
She enjoyed a career in the United States before returning to Japan and ending her playing days in 2015.
Sawa played in six World Cups, lifting the trophy in 2011, while she won 11 league titles and eight domestic cups in the Japanese League.