Mastrantonio plies her trade at the world's very pinnacle of women's football, the Women's Super League, with Bristol City alongside fellow Aussies Tanya Oxtoby and Chloe Logarzo.

It's been a long road for her to get this far, as for years she was one of the most underrated players in the country fighting to get back into the uber-competitive national team fold.


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Mastrantonio on Matildas ambition and 'the skill of Pirlo's pinky toe'

The Maestro herself, Ella Mastrantonio talking about replicating the skill of Andrea Pirlo's toes has to be one of the most egregious understatement of all time. However, it does give you a sense of how the former W-League and Matildas star got so damn good.

She impressed all onlookers so greatly in the W-League that it ultimately, it's no surprise to see her taking on the world's best.

Even so, it may have taken an Aussie coach to get her there, as she is a rarity among W-League talent in the WSL that didn't arrive via the Matildas limelight.

Once again, a credit to that sensational technical ability that derived her nickname, a credit she shares with one of the greatest footballers of all time.

"The nickname came from Western Sydney last year," she told the Sun. "It was mainly by my team mates and people around the club, they just gave me that nickname one or two games in.

"I’ll take it because my favourite midfielder is Pirlo and they used to call him that so I’ll happily take that.

"I like to get on the ball and try and pull strings and make our team tick and be an important player for the way we play so I hope that was the reason why."

During her spells at Melbourne Victory and Western Sydney Wanderers, Mastrantonio set the W-League alight, becoming the model that coaches spoke about when they spoke of true technique.

The 28-year-old has a massive task on her hand to avoid relegation at Bristol this season, but if anyone can bring the poise, skill and beauty to the game that's so rare in a relegation dogfight, it's her.

So, why Pirlo? Well, for any Mastrantonio fans out there, it may be an easy comparison. 

"I think technically he’s just incredible," she continued.

"His first touch, his vision and obviously his passing, it’s a very similar style to the way I like to play. I like trying to see things that other players can’t maybe see on the pitch and pick out those little passes and pip into pockets.

"I just think he was just incredible like that. His set pieces, he was one of the most technically gifted players probably ever and I think one of the best holding midfielders ever to play the game.

"If I can have any type of skill of his small pinkie toe then I’ll be happy. I just love watching him play and it’ll be interesting to see how he does at Juventus."

Her real interest isn't so much in replicating Pirlo as it is finding her way back into the Matildas set up with the 2023 World Cup on the horizon.

She believes she's finally in exactly the right place.

“As I said before, the Barclays FAWSL is the best league in the world at the moment," she told Bristol.

“Europe is the place to be for women’s football, you see all the Matildas come over here and plying their trade now over in the European countries and leagues, so I think It was the time for me.

"After a decent season with the [Western Sydney] Wanderers I was about the age to really test myself against the best players and the best teams in the world, hopefully I can get back into the national team.”


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