Best player in the world in 2020, European champion in 2022, Lucy Bronze (Berwick-upon-Tweed, England; 30 years old) came to Barcelona with one goal: to win the Champions League.
And for that, Barça must first get around Roma in the quarterfinals (the first leg, this Tuesday, at 9:00 p.m., on DAZN).
The Englishwoman appears in the Sports City before any other Barça player and, without hesitation, she starts speaking Spanish.
“Do you speak Catalan?” she asks;
“I know some words: 'Bon dia, si us plau, merci'”.
She is self-confident, a good conversationalist and she is clear about what the future of football has to be like.
“I live near here.
I don't like driving at all”, says the Englishwoman.
Why don't you like to drive?
When I was a child, and I had to leave my hometown team, it was an hour and a half drive from my house to my new club.
It was the women's soccer of those times, it was the only team that was close.
Then I went to university in Leeds, but I played for Liverpool.
Another hour and a half.
So as soon as I turned pro, I thought, "I'm not going to drive that much anymore."
Did you have to leave your hometown team?
When I turned 12 I couldn't play with children anymore.
There was a rule in the FA (English federation) that prevented mixed football.
The coach told my mom, “You have to find Lucy a team.
If you do, this girl will play for England."
So, since she didn't know anything about soccer, she came home and typed in Google:
The first thing that appeared to her was a school in North Carolina.
And, on the following vacations, the whole family headed for the United States.
I think it was the best thing that ever happened to me.
I had always been the only girl who played soccer.
And when I got there, I met thousands of girls.
Do you know what that means?
Realizing that you are not alone, that you can be a footballer if you want to.
The coach in North Carolina told my mom to come back at five in the afternoon.
And that I did.
Do you think that the different injury problems that you have had in your career have been the consequence of not having professional care since you were little?
Yes, I am 100% sure.
Lucy Bronze, Barcelona player, on March 15.
Did we miss out on a better Lucy Bronze?
It could be… Look at the case of Alexia [she tore her ligaments last June].
She has a physio who treats her every day and she can go to the club's gym.
When I broke down at 18, I didn't play for a year and only went to the physio once a week.
If I had gone every day... But I try to stay with the positive.
Having to train alone, for so long, she gave me a mindset that other people don't have.
Do you know what is most important?
When I was at university I worked at Domino's Pizza so I could pay for the gas to go to train in Liverpool.
I needed the money.
Would you have preferred not to?
But that gave me the vision of my life: I wanted to play soccer more than anything else.
And when I look back, I'm very happy.
I was at the beginning of everything, when we had to study,
At what point is women's soccer today?
I'm going to talk about what I know.
For a long time in England clubs and players were content to grow little by little.
But then, what happened in the 2019 World Cup [England reached the semifinal and lost 1-2 against the United States] happened.
We realized that we had to change.
But to do it, we needed everyone's support.
And, if we reached it, we were convinced that we could win.
Last summer, we won the Euro at home and showed that there is no difference in how people feel about men's football.
It's just football.
Does your Federation support you?
Yes, he supports us a lot.
After each tournament or each important trip, the heads of the federation met with the captains and asked us what we needed to improve.
So, we would tell them, for example, that we needed another member of the staff or travel differently, or train differently, or eat certain food.
Do Spain or France have to go that way?
Being a professional soccer player involves enormous stress.
The emotional and physical commitment during a match is very great.
You need to sleep well, travel well, eat well, and of course train well.
Imagine that after a game, when you get home tired and at night, you have to start writing emails and making phone calls to claim things.
Fight and fight.
When I'm with England, I get to the room and go to sleep.
Every day we play more games and we need to have that energy.
It is the only way to develop and evolve the game.
Does soccer need more voices like yours, Megan Rapinoe's or Ada Hegerberg's?
No, I don't think I need more voices.
What you need is to change so that those voices are not needed.
And that is very different.
It is another perspective.
People should understand that footballers don't have to always be fighting.
When in the past, in different sports, voices like those of Mohamed Ali or Martina Navratilova appeared, it was no longer necessary for other people to fight.
If you can change the game today, in the future others won't have to.
Can you imagine a World Cup without Putellas, Paredes, Mapi León and company?
It would be very sad if these players are not in the World Cup.
Surely it would be better for England, but I want the best World Cup possible.
And the best World Cup can only be achieved with the best players.
Lyon played, tell me about this team, Barça's possible rival in the semifinals, the great bogeyman of football [they have won eight of the last 12 Champions League].
This process that we are talking about, they started it before anyone else.
They got serious 10 years ago, while other teams did it five years ago.
Players like Renard, Le Sommer and Henry have that mentality where they only conceive of winning.
This is what they have done for the last 10 years.
For the other teams, on the other hand, it is something new.
It reminds me of Lyon.
The ambition to win that this team has is incredible.
They want and fight for success.
They lose a Champions League final and only think about how they can win it again.
They push and push.
The club wants that, the players want that and it shows.
They think about how much to invest, which players to sign, how to improve what they have.
You don't see as many teams in football as Lyon and Barcelona.
Does that make the match against Roma, a rival in the quarterfinals before the hypothetical duel with Lyon, dangerous?
We know that we are the favorites.
And that's evident from the players we have and the results these players have achieved in the past.
Roma is a practically new team in the Champions League, but things are going well in the Italian league.
It will be a good match.
We know that if we play well, we can beat any team.
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