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2023 World Cup winner Esther González shares surprising opinion on NWSL vs. Europe

Spain and Gotham FC striker Esther González had an amazing 2023 calendar year as she won the World Cup with Spain and scored the game-winning goal in the NWSL Championship on Saturday.

González made the move to Gotham FC after winning the World Cup this summer. Before her switch to the NWSL the 30-year-old striker played for the likes of Real Madrid, Atlético Madrid and Levante in Spain’s Liga F.

She’s played in the Women’s Champions League, faced the mighty Barcelona and captained Spain in two of their 2023 World Cup games. With all that experience under her belt she’s given her opinion on the level of NWSL.

Esther González NWSL level

González said that every week in the NWSL is equivalent to the hardest club games she’s played in Europe.

Comparing every club game to Barcelona is extremely high praise for the NWSL. There’s been a general consensus and feeling that the United States’ domestic league is starting to fall behind the top leagues in Europe.

New USWNT head coach — and highest paid women’s coach in the world — Emma Hayes has been critical of the NWSL and its effect on the national team players.

“There's still a huge amount of talent in this U.S. team, but with so many of the squad playing solely in the NWSL, it doesn't offer enough diversity to their squad in terms of playing against different styles,” Hayes said. “Here in Europe, where you're playing in different competitions, Champions League or cups, players aren't going to be fazed by other things because they come up against different football week in, week out.”

Whether the NWSL has truly fallen behind Europe is up for debate. Overlap between the leagues rarely takes place as the annual Women’s International Champions Cup is one of the few examples. The 2021 edition saw the Portland Thorns defeat Lyon 1-0 and Barcelona best the Houston Dash 3-2.

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