Ariane Hingst - a true marquee

Canberra United's stalwart midfielder, has had one of the most glittering careers in football and her decision to play in Australia is a huge one.

With players like Emile Heskey and Alessandro Del Piero plastered over billboards and hailed as the new faces of Australian domestic football, it's easy to forget that the Westfield W-League has its very own international superstar. Ariane Hingst, Canberra United's stalwart midfielder, has had one of the most glittering careers in football, and her decision to spend her final professional years down under has paid dividends for herself as well as the league as a whole.

Just the name Del Piero conjures images of a footballing great who has achieved the highest successes at individual, club and international level. But those same achievements can also be applied to former German international Hingst. You could even go so far as to say that her honours list is even more impressive than the Italian striker's.

The most interesting stats are at an international level, where it's clear that Hingst has achieved more than anyone else playing Australian football - men's or women's - today. While Del Piero reached the pinnacle of football glory with Italy in 2006, Hingst has lifted the FIFA World Cup twice (in 2003 and 2007). Even more impressive is that she's also amassed three Olympic medals and picked up four European Championships with Germany. Combined, Del Piero and Heskey have zero European titles, but Hingst - Germany's third most capped player - isn't getting caught up in statistics.

"I am super happy to have played for Germany so many times and felt honoured to represent my country," she said. "That is so much more important than on which position I am ranked in specific statistics."

Despite her successes on the international stage, few Australians heard about Hingst's arrival on our shores back in 2011. But she continues to showcase the quality the Westfield W-League has to offer with each passing season.

Hingst now enjoys life with the reigning champions in Canberra after a season with the Newcastle Jets, and believes United is one of the most impressive clubs she's ever played for.

"Canberra could easily compete with a German team when it comes to professionalism," she says. "You can definitely see it's quite professional and everyone is on the highest level they can be."

With players of her calibre now seriously considering the advantages of joining the Westfield W-League, it's not hard to see the competition continuing to grow in size and recognition in the coming years. Ariane Hingst could have easily chosen to spend her twilight football years in any number of leagues across the globe, but the fact that she chose Australia's premier women's competition is a testament to the growth of the game down under and bodes well for its future.