Chelsea striker Pernille Harder says stars from women’s football can now replace Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as idols to young girls.
The Denmark international made headlines this summer after moving to the WSL club from Wolfsburg for a world-record fee in women’s football, in excess of £250,000.
The 28-year-old, one of Europe’s best players and winner of UEFA’s Player of the Year award in 2018, has made more history by being named as the first ever recipient of the Best Female Player award at the World Football Summit 2020 (WFS).
Speaking at WFS Live, Harder said: “When I was young, there were not that many women’s players for me to see on the platforms or see games on TV. Most of my idols were actually men’s players.
“Marta de Silva was one player that I looked up to and was my big idol. I watched YouTube clips of her, so she was my inspiration.
“There was not that much [TV coverage]. I don’t remember seeing many women’s football games on television when I was a kid.
Harder believes more television coverage of the women’s game can make players like her household names and idols to more young girls
“In the last five years, I feel like it’s really been growing a lot and many games are now on television.
“Many of our games here in England can be watched in Denmark. I find it really good.
“So many young girls can watch us play and now we can be their idols instead of [Lionel] Messi and [Cristiano] Ronaldo.”
On being named the first recipient of the Best Female Player award, Harder added: “With every award you have that’s equal to the men’s, it’s about when you’re a kid and you see the women’s players get the same awards as the men.
“It makes some kind of equality from their point of view and I think that’s important always to have that aim to make everything equal.”