Opinion: Lieke Martens - the Lionel Messi of women's football
Forget the Brazilian superstar Neymar and the Belgian Red Devil Eden Hazard. I present to you Lieke Martens, a Dutch attacking midfielder who joined Barcelona last summer, she's known as the Lionel Messi of women's football.
She plays as an attacker. She is an all-rounder who can play on the wings as well as the midfield area. She already has a lot of individual honours to her name, and also holds an international trophy. She brings great pride to the Barcelona women's football club.
Watch a highlight reel of Lieke Martens in play - Cruyff turns, drag backs, and stomping freekicks - and the parallels are hard to ignore. When Vogue caught up with Martens after a launch show, the 25-year-old is modest about the comparison: she responded,
"It's happened because I'm at Barcelona," she smiles. "I have a good dribble run, and I like to do tekkers [tricks] as well - but no one can compare with Messi, he's unbelievable, he's above most other players
However, last year Martens achieved something her more famous Barcelona counterpart has yet to do - she won a significant international honour, inspiring her country to Euro 2017 glory, picking up the Golden Boot along the way.
"It was amazing," Martens says of the victory and the player of the tournament award. "I actually signed my Barcelona contract before Euro 2017, so I knew I was going beforehand. I'd been playing in Sweden, so when Barcelona came in, I had a really good feeling about it and wanted to do it so I could have a clear head for the Euros, and not to have to think about anything else"
In the 2017-18 Spanish league season, Martens scored 11 goals and bagged 8 assists in 29 appearances for Barcelona despite being a midfielder. She also scored 3 goals in 8 matches for The Netherlands in the FIFA Women's World Cup and UEFA qualifiers.
This year in the Algarve Cup, she scored 3 goals in 3 appearances, and managed to give an assist as well.
Lieke Martens won the Best FIFA Women's Player award in 2017. She also won Player of the Tournament award for UEFA Women's Euro 2017.
She is already a sensation by winning 11 trophies so far in her professional career, but what bigger achievement could one get than being known as the Lionel Messi of women's football?