It takes a special kind of individual to be a goalkeeper. It’s the only position that is on its own, it’s the last line of defence and if they make a mistake responsibility rests solely at their door. Hedvig Lindahl knew she was a special kind of individual when as a youth player she stopped playing up front and decided that she would much rather play in goal!

The Swede started her club career at youth level at Gropptorps IF in Sweden which was actually a boys’ team. She impressed over the years at youth level and then in 2001 she was signed to the top division of Women’s football in Sweden by Malmo. Times at Malmo were tough for her as the 18-year-old was battling for the first team slot with the first choice national goalkeeper at the time. Eventually she was loaned out before finally choosing to leave to make a name for herself elsewhere. She joined Linköpings FC in 2004 and it was here where she truly developed.

Standing at about 5 foot 11, Lindahl is taller than most keepers in the game and she uses her tall frame to her advantage. She excels at coming out for crosses and dominating her area as well as using her long arms to make great saves.

After a good stint at Linköpings FC, she claimed global attention when she was at Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC. The two seasons that Lindahl played there saw the team finish as runners up on both occasions, having never finished as high before and a large reason for that was Lindahl and her fantastic goalkeeping which led to her having a brilliant clean sheet record. Kopparbergs didn’t realise what they had at the time and naïvely allowed Lindahl’s contract to run down. She was then signed up by Kristianstads DFF before finally leaving Sweden and joining Chelsea in 2015.

Her arrival at the Blues coincided with Chelsea winning their first top level trophies in their history as they cantered to the domestic double. On her way to the league title, Lindhal kept four clean sheets in her first 5 games as well as finishing the season with the least amount of goals conceded in the league. Although, Chelsea did not win anything in the following season, Lindhal’s performances kept getting better and she was eventually nominated for PFA Women’s Player of the Year as well as being in the overall WSL1’s Team of the Year.

Lindahl won her first Sweden cap as a 19 year old in 2002 and became first choice keeper a couple of years after that. Till now she has become Sweden’s most capped goalkeeper of all time after collecting 132 caps so far. She has also been recognised in her home country with multiple awards. She has been named as Sweden’s goalkeeper of the year on five separate occasions and for her first two years at Chelsea, Lindahl won the Diamantbollen on two occasions, which is the award for Sweden’s most valuable player.

Again this season, her heroics in goal have been vital in keeping up Chelsea’s amazing goals conceded record. Chelsea have currently conceded the least goals in the league so far with only four going into her net and she played a huge part in getting Chelsea to the Quarter Finals of the Champions League especially in the second leg away in Munich with a series of spectacular saves.

As Hedvig Lindahl keeps going from strength to strength, she is proving time and time again that she is a special kind of individual.