8/13/2018 4:41:11 PM (GMT+3)

A little acknowledgement is always nice, says Rapinoe

A little acknowledgement is always nice, says Rapinoe

Megan Rapinoe has been a household name in women’s football for a decade. At 33, she was nominated for Best FIFA Women’s Player award for the first time in her career.

The most experienced player in this year’s list of candidates, the California native is playing some of her best football yet.

Having faced adversity in the shape of an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear in late 2015, the third such injury of her career, the American has evolved as a player,

In an exclusive interview to FIFA.com, Rapinoe said why she is thriving at this stage in her career.

Your reaction to being named a nominee for The Best FIFA Women’s Player 2018 award.

A little surprised to be honest, not because I don’t think I’m a good player but surprising. I’m obviously very honoured and humbled by it. Yeah, it made me smile. I think for any player who’s put in a lot of work and always striving to be the best, whether you are the best or not kind of doesn’t matter, it really shouldn’t change your outlook on things. I think everyone should try to be as good as they can. A little acknowledgement is always nice.

What does it mean to you to be playing at such a high level at this point of your career and to still be at the top?

That is very special. It’s special to be able to be playing better than I’ve ever played, being a little bit older and being in the tenth year of my career or so. I think especially because I was coming off an incredible 2015 and feeling like I was playing as good as I’ve ever played, and to have an ACL injury at that stage of your career, at that age and that particular time, having the Olympics, making it back to the Olympics but being sort of a shell of myself and the team not doing that well.

I never had the feeling that I was uncertain that I would get back to playing, but I think it would be normal to think that and normal to wonder what level I was going to back to, so to see all the hard work and how the private moments pay off, not only for me but for all of the people that have been involved - my family, my coaches, my closest friends, my girlfriend - for them to be a part of that as well and know what I’ve gone through and how hard I’ve worked to get to the place that I am, that part is very special for me.

Why are you playing better than you ever have? 

As you get older as a player, there comes a point when it changes; you can’t do what you did when you were 22 to 26 years old. Sometimes it comes quickly and sometimes you kind of can’t see it coming or you start to get a little injured. I would never say I was lucky to tear my ACL, but I think tearing my ACL came at the moment that my body was also changing as well, so it was kind of an opportunity to completely hit this reset. As I was coming back from my ACL and during that first year of my rehab, I could tell that my body was different. Even when I first came back, I was trying to do the same things and it just wasn’t having the exact same results. I think I realised in that moment that I have to change, I have to do more.

How would you describe your evolution tactically and technically?

I try to make zero negative runs during the game, but I have to make a few! (laughs) The style change in both the teams—traditionally for most of my career with the national team we played a 4-4-2 and only in the last couple of years we changed to more of a 4-3-3. So I’m an attacker, a winger and striker, basically. 

(Pic credit: fifa.com)