England and Lyon defender Lucy Bronze has been named BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year 2020.
Bronze, 28, has claimed the award for the second time, after winning in 2018.
“Winning a trophy twice is special because it’s so much harder,” she said.
Netherlands and Arsenal striker Vivianne Miedema came second and Reign FC’s United States forward Megan Rapinoe third, as the award attracted the highest number of votes in its six-year history.
The other nominees on the five-player shortlist for the BBC World Service award were Australia and Chelsea striker Sam Kerr and USA and Chicago Red Stars midfielder Julie Ertz.
Bronze’s 2019 included being named Uefa’s Women’s Player of the Year and finishing as runner-up in the women’s Ballon d’Or, behind Rapinoe.
With her club she claimed a trophy treble, winning the French league and cup, as well as the Champions League, while with England she won the SheBelieves Cup and scored a memorable 20-yard strike as she helped the Lionesses reach the World Cup semi-finals.
“I look at the list of nominees for this award – before the public didn’t maybe know as much about the players – and now I think: ‘Everybody knows who these girls are’,” Bronze told BBC World Service from her home in Manchester, where she is staying during football’s shutdown because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“That’s definitely pretty special. Things have changed so much since the World Cup, and next year with a home Euros it’s something that can change even more and get even bigger, especially for us in England.
“In the past two years I’ve changed so much as a person and a leader. I’d like to think my football has improved a bit – but as a person I’ve grown up a lot. I’m coming up to 30 so I have to.
“When I was younger I just wanted to play and win, but now I’m taking on a bigger role to help the team win at England and Lyon.”
As it stands for Bronze, 2020 would include representing Britain at the Olympics in Tokyo and then a European Championship in England in the summer of 2021.
Both tournaments are opportunities to continue the growth of the women’s game, with interest and viewing numbers at an all-time high.
“I still say 2019 was one of my most disappointing years, purely because of the World Cup,” said Bronze.
“But I’m starting to look back even now and saying I achieved a lot and had a really good year, probably an outstanding year in my career in terms of winning trophies.
“The World Cup really hit me hard, but it’s motivated me to do more. I want to win something with the national team, whether that’s with Great Britain or England. I’d swap all my individual awards just to get my hands on something like that.”
With the spread of coronavirus throughout Europe, Bronze returned to her home in Manchester last week and is staying with two housemates.
“I’m doing pretty well, I’ve got a little mini-gym set up in my house and I’ve got Astroturf in my back garden. I’ve got a couple of footballs, I don’t really need much else to keep myself occupied,” she said.
“We’ve got football tennis going on in the back garden and plenty of food. We’ve been shopping for some food the past couple of days so we’re in good spirits at the moment.”
|Women’s Footballer of the Year winners|
|2015: Asisat Oshoala (Nigeria)|
|2016: Kim Little (Scotland)|
|2017: Ada Hegerberg (Norway)|
|2018: Lucy Bronze (England)|
|2019: Ada Hegerberg (Norway)|
|2020: Lucy Bronze (England)|