On being recognised as the world’s best player

The best player on the planet. That’s Lucy Bronze’s official title now.

The girl from Berwick-upon-Tweed in Northumberland stands alone out of nearly four billion women in the world.

The 29-year-old Manchester City and England right-back says she is “not really a fan of individual awards” and admits receiving this one won’t truly sink in until she literally has it in her hands – she was unable to receive it in person on Thursday night because of coronavirus travel restrictions – but her peers have recognised her as the sport’s elite player in 2020.

Her road to the top has been a long and challenging one, overcoming lengthy knee injuries that saw most of her time at Everton at the start of the last decade spent working part-time in a pizzeria.

But Bronze is tough, not just by nature, but by name. By her full name, in fact: Lucia Roberta Tough Bronze.

Bronze’s father is Portuguese and she first started playing football when trying to out-do her older brother Jorge. Despite her world fame, she remains a family girl at heart and it is them who were there for her in her hardest moments.

“I can, hand on heart, say that the only people who have consistently stuck by me through the good and the bad, through my worst days, have been my family. I’m so lucky I’ve got both my parents and they would do anything for me.

“From the minute I was born, we never had a lot of money, but if there was something me, my brother and my sister wanted to do, they would make sure we were doing it.

“Every time I called my Mum to say ‘I think I want to leave [a club] or I think I want to go here’ my Mum’s reply is always: ‘I am happy as long as you’re happy. You just do whatever makes you happy.’ Her and my Dad have helped me through every single moment of my life.

“Everybody says to me, ‘well done Lucy, I bet your Mum is so proud’, that’s everyone’s first reaction, and that’s because they know how much my Mum has put into me being happy and me being successful.”

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