How Lucy Bronze has fared since England legend's high-profile Barcelona transfer

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Lucy Bronze has won the Champions League three times before with Lyon and is now aiming for a fourth title with Barcelona (Image: Getty Images / 2022 DeFodi Images)
Lucy Bronze has won the Champions League three times before with Lyon and is now aiming for a fourth title with Barcelona (Image: Getty Images / 2022 DeFodi Images)

Those eagerly awaiting the WSL's return may have to tune into Spain's Liga F for their fix of domestic women's league football this weekend.

While England's top flight has one more week off before returning, Barcelona face Sevilla at Estadi Johan Cruyff on Saturday and Keira Walsh won't be the only member of the Euros winning Lionesses-squad taking to the field for the hosts. Lucy Bronze also headed for the Catalan giants before the start of the season, ending her second-spell at Manchester City in the process.

Bronze has already won pretty much everything in the game bar the Women's World Cup, but clearly felt it was time to test herself in Spain's top flight, now home to some of the world's most talented footballers. Her transfer was already agreed prior to Euro 2022, with Bronze later stating it was a red line for her to have the deal done before England's campaign, allowing her to focus solely on her national team.

That proved a great decision with the right-back playing a vital role as England won their first major tournament, Bronze starting every game along the road to glory at Wembley.

But how has she fared now the dust settled on that fairytale summer? And how is a player widely regarded to be one of the best defenders in the game, settling in at her latest club?

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Singing Sweet Caroline to her new colleagues

Just like her England teammate Georgia Stanway when she moved to Bayern Munich last summer, Bronze was made to induct herself to her Barcelona teammates the traditional way, by singing a song. This old school induction saw the right-back deliver her rendition of 'Sweet Caroline' after the Lionesses adopted it during the Euros.

Bronze was delighted that unlike Stanway, it wasn't filmed for social media, but admitted it wasn't the most pleasant of experiences.

"They had all seen the video of Georgia [Stanway, who has joined Bayern Munich] singing Sweet Caroline as her initiation," Bronze told The Guardian.

"They made me do the same but didn’t video it. My toes were curling a little bit because I sat next to a Swedish girl [who England beat in the semi-final], a Norwegian girl [who England beat 8-0 in their second group game] and a Spanish girl and I’m thinking: ‘I don’t want to do this.’ I got on the mic, sang it and they were all great."

Any danger of the Euros celebrations being forgotten were swiftly put aside by her new colleagues.

How Lucy Bronze has fared since England legend's high-profile Barcelona transferEngland star Lucy Bronze scored her first goal for new club Barcelona in a 6-1 league victory over Atletico Madrid earlier this season. (Photo by Eric Alonso - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

European battles

Bronze is no stranger to competing at the top of the European game, having won the UEFA Women's Champions League three times with Lyon. But her first continental campaign at Barcelona has thrown her in at the deep end.

She has started in four of Barca's six Group D matches, with the Spanish Champions facing off against Bayern Munich and Benfica in a battle for a quarter-final spot. Bronze showed her quality from the off, managing to keep national teammate Stanway and Klara Buhl quiet in a 3-0 win over Bayern.

Although Blaugrana were beaten 3-1 in the return game, Bronze's performances helped them finish top of Group D. If her new side can safely navigate the quarter-finals a meeting with Arsenal or Chelsea further down the line could see her return to England.

Bronze did have to pull out of England's final squad of 2022 in November, coincidentally held in Spain, but has since played down fears this is due to a recurrence of a long-standing knee issue. If she can help Barca go deep in Europe's premier tournament, Bronze will be one of the first names on Wiegman's squad list for the World Cup.

Last-minute winners

Although a full-back and defender first and foremost, Bronze's ability going forward is admired across the game. Former England manager Phil Neville once said: "There is no player like her in the world, no player who has her athleticism and quality."

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And with Barcelona dominating the ball against the majority of play opponents, the 31-year-old will be expected to contribute going forwards as well as defending. And unsurprisingly, it hasn't taken long for Bronze to find the net for her new club, getting her first in a 6-1 away win at Atletico Madrid.

But the Spanish champions perfect start to the season was under threat at home to Real Sociedad last month.

How Lucy Bronze has fared since England legend's high-profile Barcelona transferEngland full-back Lucy Bronze is expected to be a regular starter at next year's FIFA World Cup in Australia and New Zealand ((Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images))

Barca were second best for much of the game and only a suspiciously offside-looking goal from Marta Torrejón had them level at 1-1 in a tight second-half.

With only one minute of normal time remaining, Bronze intervened, heading home an last-gasp winner to give her team an 11th win of the season and spark jubilant celebrations. 11 became 12 a week later when Alhama were beaten 4-0.

It means ahead of Liga F's return this week, Barcelona are seven points clear at the top of the table as Bronze seeks to add a Spanish domestic title to a medal collection that already contains the English and French top flights.

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Jack Lacey-Hatton

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