Lucy Bronze exclusive: Joining Barça, Sweet Caroline & Alexia Putellas

Lucy Bronze exclusive: Joining Barça, Sweet Caroline & Alexia Putellas

| sport

The England international spoke to SPORT this week about her new life in Barcelona

Lucy Bronze (Berwick-upon-Tweed, England, Oct. 28 1991) looks happy in Barcelona. Her career has been up and down. In 2020, after many years on the up, full of team and individual titles, she was named FIFA's The Best and hit the top. It was then she decided to leave Lyon and return to Manchester, where she spent two years with Man City.

In her second year with City she wasn't completely happy, she explains.

"I wasn't full of confidence," she told SPORT this week. "I wanted to get to the end of the season and have a good European Championships (with England)."

When her contract expired at City, she didn't know what would come next. But she received a call from Barelona and she did not think twice: "I could never have said no."

What came next is well known. She won the Euros with England and was one of the best players in the competition. Now, sat down with SPORT, she speaks about life at Barça:

Q: How is your new life in Barcelona?

A: Very good, very happy I am happy to be in beautiful country... and with sunshine!

Q: In the first week of training, you said the adaption was hard. However, you have played well. Are you now adapted?

A: Almost, yeh. More all the time. I think once I understand the language I will be prepared 100%. For now, I only speak English in training and the games.

Q: Many players notice the difference at Barça in training, has it been the case for you?

A: Yes, because of the high intensity. Every season is really different to what I did in England, even from when I was playing in France, where the level was similar. But I enjoy it a lot. I like working hard.

Q: What does the coach say to you?

A: At first he expected me to need time to adapt and understand my new surroundings. So I didn't have that pressure to be at 100% from the off. In each session, 'Jona' gives me information and advice to help me fit the team, to be the best of myself and for the team to be better with me.

Q: You had a great Euros and have started well with Barça. Do you feel in good form?

A: Yes! I feel good. The Euros was really good and I signed for one of the best teams in the world. That Barça want you gives you a lot of confidence. So yes, I am in a good moment and enjoying football a lot.

Q: Barça signed you for your experience, physicality and talent. Why did you choose Barça?

A: For their success and the way of playing. Everyone knows how Barça play and it is something I wanted to learn to become better. They have won a lot of trophies. It's true they only have one Champions League, but they have been in several finals now. It is the type of success I wanted to emulate. I won the Champions League with Lyon. Now I want to do it with Barça.

"I won the Champions League with Lyon, now I want to do it with Barça"

Q: Talking about football, you arrived with Marta Torrejón as the right-back. Did you expect to start from the off?

A: I think when you play for a great team, especially at Barça, there are not just 11 players. There are 20, 25 and everyone can play different positions and at different moments of the season. Torre can play right-back, so can I, but I have also played in midfield and we played together. But Barça are known for that versatility. Mariona (Caldentey), for example, plays wide or in midfield. We all adapt.

Q: I was going to say, you played midfield in the first game after the break. Was that a suspris?

A: It was a surprise. When I saw Torre coming on, I thought I was going off. But she said to me: 'No, Lucy, you are moving into Vicky's position.' I had played there before. We had a lot of injuries, Patri had gone off... I could add energy in the middle. We wanted to assure we won the game.

Q: Did Aitana comment about you playing in her position?!

A: Yes! She commented that I had done well. I told her to watch out, maybe I would rob her position (laughs). But seriously, everyone has been great with me. Obviously we have the best midfielders in the world at Barça and I don't think I will have to play there much more.

Q: You know Keira Walsh well. The pivote is a tough position at Barça and she has the added pressure of being the most expensive women's player ever. How is she doing?

A: Adaptation takes time. It was easier for me, she arrived for the first game of the season and could not do preseason. As you say, it is the most difficult position at Barça. And if you are English, don't speak Spanish, you can imagine. But I think she is doing really well. She is improving in every session and every game. When you see Keira at 100%, everyone will understand why she signed because she is the perfect player to play here.

She can see passes that no one sees and pull them off. It is what she does with England, she controls games, time... We saw it in the Euro final, one of the passes for one of the goals. I remember I spoke with someone that had seen the game on television and they told me they could not even see that pass.

"Keira Walsh is the perfect player for Barcelona"

Q: They made you sing Sweet Caroline for your initiation?!

A: Yes (laughs). It was a little uncomfortable, but everyone wanted me to sing it. The memories that song have for me are different than for the other players. But when I arrived, everyone congratulated me for winning the Euros. It's all good!

Q: You seem to have a good connection with the young players especially, laughing with Vicky, taking care of Alba Caño...

A: I remember when I started with England, I was one of the youngest, and one of the veterans told me the best thing to do was to surround yourself with the youngsters because their enthusiasm is incredible. Sometimes, when you have spent many years in the game, it can become monotonous. If you surround yourself with youngsters, their passion for every goal, win, being part of the team... it's contagious. Maybe it is something you take for granted, but you have to value it. Also, the younger players don't speak when I try to speak Spanish like the veterans here!

Lucy Bronze, entrevistada por SPORT

| Javi Ferrándiz

Q: Alexia wrote to you when you signed. What's here role inside the dressing room while injured?

A: I see her every morning and we practice her English because she is trying to improve it. It's a difficult injury to deal with, especially for her because it has arrived during the best moment of her career. She is the winner of the Ballon d'Or, the Barça captain, the Spain captain, the best player in Europe, in the world. Her career was at the top and all of a sudden she had to stop. And she is still present every day, speaking with the players, the new signings. Despite everything, she is dealing with it really well.

Q: Some of your teammates are having a difficult time with the Spanish national team. How do you view it?

A: I think it's a complicated situation for them. I don't play for Spain so I don't know all the details. But in women's football, it is important that everyone is pulling in the same direction. I have experienced it with England. Our Federation has always listened to us. In the last four or five years we have made many changes. And it's been in a collective way. We had the support of all parties and we won the Euros. The same happened in the United States. There the players take a stance constantly because they want changes. And they have won the World Cup many times.

Players have to have a voice, say what they think and how they feel. In this case, they have spoken because they want improvements, it is important to remember that. They are not saying negative things. It doesn't matter what team you are, whether it's the England national team, Spain, Barça... it doesn't matter, we all want women's football to improve because we know there is still a long way to go. Many of the best players in the world are in the Spain team and they were knocked out in the quarters of the Euros, which was probably disappointing for many. And that shows that something is not right and the players want to change it, so it is important that they are listened to.

"The players want improvements and it is important to listen to them"

Q: Returning to Barça, you have played at the Johan Cruyff. Your teammates say Barça have the best fans in the world. Do you agree?

A: (Laughs) Yes, it's crazy. They are incredible, they follow every game, even preseason friendlies. Just after signing, when I had not played a game and had hardly even been in the city because of the Euros, I felt the support of a lot of people in England and there were a lot of Barça fans there. The fans here are really special.

Q: You will have seen the games at Camp Nou last season, you must be looking forward to experiencing that?

A: I can't wait to play at Camp Nou. I saw the two games last year and the atmosphere was impressive. It's amazing that women's football has reached this point, that Barça have played two times with other 90,000 watching, that England have played at a full Wembley... IT will be great to be part of this record-breaking Barça.

Q: To finish, objectives for this next chapter in your career? 

A: To win everything. It's what Barça have always wanted and what I want. We train and we play to win every competition and lift every possible trophy.

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