Miedema the first, but she won’t be the last

Vivianne Miedema is as accustomed to breaking down barriers in women’s sport as she is finding the back of the net with unerring regularity for club and country. The Dutch forward has become a superstar in every sense of the word.

Her day job may require her to grace football fields of the training and stadium-based variety, but her personality and celebrity now transcend that chosen profession. She is, along with many more modern-day greats, a source of inspiration to millions around the world.

It remains to be seen what the immediate future holds for Miedema, as she approaches the end of a contract at an Arsenal side that earned plenty of favour within football betting tips during 2021-22 but narrowly missed out on the FA Women’s Super League title to double-winning Chelsea by a solitary point.

If a thrilling chapter to a memorable tale is to be brought to a close, then one of the very best in the business will walk away with a legacy cemented that will stand the test of time.
Miedema has re-written the record books in England, becoming the all-time leading goalscorer in WSL history and a centurion for the Gunners, while also collecting two major honours across five productive years.

She has, regardless of whether her future lies in north London or North America, become an icon – the kind that statues are made of.

Miedema has already been given a taste of what it would feel like to be immortalised in marble, granite or any other material that takes the fancy of the artist asked to capture her essence in a sculpture form. For 24 hours in early May 2022, she found herself rubbing shoulders with Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Tony Adams outside Emirates Stadium.

A temporary statue, which was crafted from sustainably recycled marine-farmed waste plastic, was commissioned by Adidas and stood proudly alongside other legendary Arsenal figures ahead of a derby date with local rivals Tottenham.

Can’t believe I have a statue outside of the Emirates Stadium. The first female statue at Arsenal! What a way to celebrate.
Supporters flocked to see the special design, which saw Miedema become the first current women’s football player in England to have a statue placed outside a world-renowned venue. The star of the show said: “It’s not just me but I think a lot of players in the past probably deserve one. I definitely think that will happen in the future.”

Lily Parr – who scored 900 goals for Dick, Kerr Ladies between 1920 and 1951 – became the first female player to have a statue made in England when a bronze cast was unveiled at the National Football Museum in 2019, but she may not occupy a talent pool of one for long.

Miedema has already made history by taking centre stage at Arsenal and you get the sense that a more permanent reminder of her endeavours will be put in place at some stage. A number of her 21st-century contemporaries also boast serious claims to having their own efforts recognised with lasting mementos.

A Netherlands international may have been the first to break down more barriers in the women’s game, with a useful habit being picked up there, but she will not be the last – that much you can set in stone.

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