Wambach’s rise to the top of the game didn’t take long. Just three years into her WNT career, she enjoyed one of the greatest years in U.S. Women’s National Team history, scoring 31 goals in the final 30 matches of the year. With the second-highest total in a calendar year by a U.S. player, Wambach became one of only five players to score 20 or more goals in a year, joining Mia Hamm, Michelle Akers, Kristine Lilly and Tiffeny Milbrett.
In 2013, Wambach broke Mia Hamm’s world-scoring record—a fellow FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year and all-around soccer legend—during her insane four-goal performance against the Korea Republic, where she also became the USA’s all-time leader in multiple-goal games with 43. Heading into the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup year, she already had 35 two-goal games, five hat tricks, two four-goal games and one five-goal game.
Alan Hansen (born 13 June 1955) is a Scottish former football player and BBC television football pundit. He played as a central defender for Partick Thistle, for the successful Liverpool team of the late 1970s and 1980s, and for Scotland. As a football pundit, Hansen became known for his outspoken views, particularly on teams' defensive performances, frequently criticising what he believed was "diabolical" or "shocking" defending. He made his name as a pundit on Match of the Day from 1992 to 2014.
Alan Shearer (born 13 August 1970) is an English football pundit and retired footballer who played as a striker. Widely regarded as one of the best strikers of his generation and one of the greatest players in the history of the Premier League, he is the Premier League's record goalscorer. He was named Football Writers' Association Player of the Year in 1994 and won the PFA Player of the Year award in 1995. In 1996, he came third in both Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards. In 2004, he was named by Pelé in the FIFA 100 list of the world's greatest living players. Shearer played his entire career in the top level of English football. He started his career at Southampton in 1988 before moving to Blackburn Rovers in 1992, where he established himself as among the most prolific goalscorers in Europe. At Blackburn, he won the 1994–95 Premier League, as well as two consecutive Premier League Golden Boots. In the summer of 1996, he joined his hometown club Newcastle United for a then-world record £15 million. He led Newcastle to the 1998 FA Cup and 1999 FA Cup finals, and eventually became the club's all-time top scorer. He retired at the end of the 2005–06 season. For the England national team, Shearer appeared 63 times and scored 30 goals. UEFA Euro 1996 was his biggest success at international football; England reached the semi-finals and Shearer was awarded the UEFA Euro Golden Boot and was named to the UEFA Euro Team of the Tournament. He went on to represent England at 1998 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2000; he retired from international football following the end of the latter competition.
McCoist began his playing career with Scottish club St Johnstone before moving to English side Sunderland in 1981. He returned to Scotland two years later and signed with Rangers. McCoist had a highly successful spell with Rangers, becoming the club's record goalscorer and winning nine successive league championships between 1988–89 and 1996–97. He later played for Kilmarnock. McCoist was inducted into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame in 2007. He is also a member of the Scotland Football Hall of Fame, having gained 61 international caps. A prolific striker, he is currently ranked as the fifth highest goalscorer in the top tier of the Scottish football league system all time, having netted 260 times for Rangers and Kilmarnock between 1983 and 2001.
Andrea Pirlo is considered to be one of the greatest deep-lying playmakers of all time, Pirlo was renowned for his vision, ball control, technique, creativity, passing, and free-kick ability. Pirlo began his club career in 1995 as an attacking midfielder with hometown club Brescia, winning the Serie B title in 1997. He signed for Serie A club Inter Milan a year later, but limited game time and loans away from the club saw him sold to cross-city rivals Milan in 2001. There, Pirlo matured into a world-class deep-lying playmaker, and won two Serie A titles, two UEFA Champions Leagues, two UEFA Super Cups, a FIFA Club World Cup, a Coppa Italia, and a Supercoppa Italiana. He departed Milan for Juventus in 2011, where he won four consecutive Serie A titles, as well as two Supercoppa Italiana titles, and another Coppa Italia. In 2015, Pirlo joined Major League Soccer (MLS) club New York City, with whom he played for two years before retiring in 2017. At international level, Pirlo played 116 matches for the Italian national football team, which is the fifth-most of all time.
Andres Iniesta is a Spanish professional footballer who plays as a central midfielder and is the captain of J1 League club Vissel Kobe. He spent most of his career at Barcelona, where he served as the captain for three seasons.
Iniesta is widely considered to be one of the best players of his generation and one of the greatest midfielders of all time. Iniesta came through La Masia, the Barcelona youth academy, after an early migration from his birthplace, and impressed from an early age. He made his first-team debut aged 18 in 2002. He began playing regularly during the 2004–05 season and remained in the team until 2018. Iniesta was an integral part of the Barcelona sides that won two historic trebles in 2009 and 2015, and his 35 trophies, which includes nine La Ligas and four UEFA Champions League titles, make him the most decorated Spanish footballer of all time.
After twenty-two years at Barcelona, Iniesta signed for Japanese club Vissel Kobe in 2018. Iniesta played for Spain at the Under-16, Under-19 and Under-21 levels before making his international debut in 2006. He helped Spain win UEFA Euro 2008, playing every game and being selected in the Team of the Tournament. Iniesta was also a key member of the victorious Spanish team at the 2010 FIFA World Cup; he scored the winning goal in the final against the Netherlands, for which he was named the Man of the Match, and was selected to the tournament's All-Star Team. At UEFA Euro 2012, Iniesta led Spain to their second consecutive continental crown, again being chosen as the Man of the Match of the final against Italy, and was named the Player of the Tournament.
Iniesta has been named in the FIFA FIFPro World XI nine times and was chosen in the UEFA Team of the Year on six occasions. He was named in the All-time UEFA Euro XI. He won the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award in 2012 and was named the IFFHS World's Best Playmaker in 2012 and 2013. Iniesta was runner-up to Lionel Messi for the 2010 FIFA Ballon d'Or and achieved third place in 2012.