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Lucy Bronze named BBC Women's Footballer of the Year 2018

Lucy Bronze
Lucy Bronze

Northumberland's Lucy Bronze has been crowned BBC Women's Footballer of the Year 2018.

The 26-year-old, from Alnwick, topped a public vote from fans around the world to beat second-placed Netherlands forward Lieke Martens and third-placed Australia striker Sam Kerr.

The other nominees on the five-player shortlist for the BBC World Service award were Denmark's Pernille Harder and Germany's Dzsenifer Marozsan.

Bronze, who plays for the England national team and French side Olympique Lyonnais, was presented with the award by her aunt, Julie Tough, in front of her cheering Lyon team-mates, including last year's winner Ada Hegerberg.

Bronze told the BBC: "It's really special. I'm still a bit surprised - I didn't know why everyone was clapping at first. I was very grateful to even be nominated. The people who've been nominated alongside me are really great players and had really great years."

Right-back Bronze signed for European champions Olympique Lyonnais last August from Manchester City, saying she wanted to improve her technical skills and was seeking a new challenge.

She has since helped them to the French league title and the verge of a third successive treble - with Thursday's Champions League final against VfL Wolfsburg and the French Cup final against Paris-St-Germain a week later still to play.

Bronze, who scored a stunning volley in the semi-final to send Lyon into the Champions League final, added: "Coming to Lyon meant everything to me. I really want my hands on the Champions League trophy. It's the reason I came here and I don't want to go home without it."

Bronze is the fourth winner of this BBC World Service award, following Nigeria forward Asisat Oshoala in 2015, Scotland midfielder Kim Little in 2016 and Norway forward Hegerberg in 2017.

Netherlands forward Martens was second in this year's vote after helping her country win Euro 2017 on home soil, while Australia forward Kerr was third after becoming the all-time leading scorer in the National Women's Soccer League in the United States last year with 43 goals.

Former Alnwick Town player Bronze said: "Being a defender it's harder to get recognised. All the other girls that have been nominated, it's predominantly for scoring goals and being the attacking forces in their teams. And rightfully so, they are great players.

"I don't think I'm the most technical player in the world, I'm probably not the most tactical, smartest, but I probably am one of the ones who works the hardest to get where I am and to have done what I've done."