Football Ferns striker Hannah Wilkinson completes Sporting Lisbon move

Football Ferns striker Hannah Wilkinson has secured a move to the club that produced Cristiano Ronaldo.

The 27-year-old has signed a one-year contract with Portuguese club Sporting Lisbon and said there are pictures of Ronaldo everywhere she turns.

"That was one thing that kind of gives me chills every time I step into the academy because in the meeting room it's just his face and pictures of him playing at the same place you're training in right now and how he developed through the ages at that very place," she said.

"In the gym it shows him working out. He's everywhere. But I find it so cool because it's like damn, he was here! This is exactly what he did. He came through these coaches, this system, this support and look at him now.

"I'm just like, does he ever come back?"

Wilkinson signed the deal with Sporting prior to the Women's World Cup, where she made two appearances off the bench against the Netherlands and Cameroon after making a comeback from an ACL injury. 

"They said they had been tracking my progress and they were really impressed with my recovery and my attitude towards that, so that really helped push that signing, which was awesome."

Wilkinson previously played for Swedish club Vittsjo GIK but her contract expired when she was sidelined with the long-term injury, which nearly dashed her chances of playing at the World Cup.

"I'm stoked to be here. It's just amazing. All the facilities here are just next level. There's an academy specifically for Sporting youth and men, leading all the way through where Ronaldo grew up and played, which is also quite special," she said.

"The amount of staff is amazing. We have a nurse, we have a physio, we have a doctor, we have a strength trainer, we have two to three trainers, an assistant coach and a manager, it's amazing. It's basically everything you could dream of with a professional club and it's football central.

"Everything is football here."