England and Lyon defender Lucy Bronze has been named BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year 2020.
The 28-year-old topped a public vote to take the prize, with Arsenal star Vivianne Miedema edged into second and World Cup winner Megan Rapinoe finishing in third.
Julie Ertz, another prominent figure in the all-conquering USWNT side, and Sam Kerr of Chelsea and Australia completed the five-player shortlist.
Bronze told BBC Sport on landing the prestigious award: “I’m definitely surprised – I wasn’t expecting it.
“It’s pretty special (being voted by the public) and quite amazing.
“All the girls that have been nominated are global superstars. I look at the list now and think everyone knows who these girls are so that’s pretty special.”
Bronze was also named the best player on the planet back in 2018, having become a prominent figure for club and country.
She added on the achievement of being a two-time winner: “Winning the first time was a surprise – and it is now – but to win a trophy twice is really special as it’s so much harder, to stay at the top level is so difficult, it’s not something that’s easy and I don’t take it for granted one bit.”
This time around there was no elaborate handover of the trophy, with coronavirus restrictions having forced sports men and women to take in periods of self-isolation.
With Lyon’s games having been postponed indefinitely, Bronze finds herself back in England and trying to keep in shape ready for the resumption of competitive action.
She said of the Covid-19 pandemic: “The players have been given some time off and all been told to stay in our homes and that’s what I’m doing the majority of the time.
“I’m now home in England, I’ve got my dog here and I’ve two girls who live with me in my house so we’re doing things to keep fit.
“I have been sent a fitness programme from the club. I’ve got some gym equipment, astroturf in the back garden so not completely away from football.”
Bronze finds herself back at the top of the world having enjoyed another memorable 12 months.
Her achievements include a domestic double and Champions League triumph with Lyon, while also becoming the first English player to win the UEFA Women’s Player of the Year award.
She was also runner-up for the World Cup Golden Ball and Ballon d’Or, with the Lionesses having reached the semi-finals of the showpiece event in France before losing to eventual winners USA.
Asked to pick out her highlights of the year, Bronze said: “Winning the Champions League for a successive year.
“I was pleased with my performance and we put on a real good show for women’s football. The World Cup hit me hard (losing in the semi-finals) but it’s motivated me to do more.
“I’m really proud in my career the fact there was a time I had to pay to train on a pitch twice a week to now the heights of being paid to play in another country, winning the Champions League, playing at Wembley.
“To see where women’s football is now, I would never have dreamt about it when I was first getting in to football when I was 12 years old. It’s part of the reason I don’t want my career to end with the buzz that’s around women’s football.”