Lucy Bronze: You can't say no to Barcelona (0:57)

Lucy Bronze joined Barcelona on a free transfer. 0:58

6:00 AM ET

Lucy Bronze had a choice of clubs when her contract at Manchester City expired. She told her agent that only the best of the best was what she wanted. For Bronze, that meant Lyon or Barcelona, the two teams that made the final of the European Championship.

Bronze had already played for Lyon earlier in her career, so she chose to play for Barcelona. The side that lost to Lyon in last season's European final have been unbeatable. The last three league titles have been won by them.

There are signs that the gap between Barcelona and Real Madrid may not be as large this season. The rapid improvement of Madrid has made them just below the top clubs in Europe. They lost to Barcelona in front of a world record crowd at Camp Nou last season, but still made it to the group stages of the competition.

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The Real Madrid invested again in the summer, and among those brought in was the Scotland international. They have four points from two European games this season, including a goalless draw against Paris Saint-Germain, and are still in the running for the title.

At the end of her stint with Manchester City, Lucy Bronze had plenty of interested clubs but chose to join Barcelona this season. Aitor Alcalde/UEFA via Getty Images

The Catalans will play Real Madrid on Sunday. Madrid may feel this is their best chance to beat Barcelona for the first time because of the injured players at the Catalan club. According to Bronze, Barcelona's squad runs deep and they have become the best side in Spain because of the growth happening in the capital city.

Bronze talked about adjusting to life in Barcelona, whether Real Madrid have earned the Clasico rivals tag, and her path from Domino's employee to a powerhouse starter

Can we now refer to it as a Clasico?

Bronze said it is.

Is it true that Madrid had to earn it?

They have shown they are a good team in Spain. In Spain, they finish high in the table. I have never played in the games against Barcelona but I have watched them and they are competitive games.

The big domestic rivals are now Madrid and Atleti Madrid.

I think there are a couple of teams that are really strong. There is a rivalry between the two Spanish teams. I haven't been a part of it before, but I feel like everyone is ready for it.

Do you have any more motivation to face former teammateCaroline?

It's nice to know someone. She is a great player. It's nice to see that she's doing well, but I don't want her to have a bad weekend. As a team we will hopefully be able to deal with her.

What do you say?

I talked to her a long time ago. I think it's different for me. I've played in many countries and learned many languages. The culture change is the first kind of initial struggle, not the football. Not understanding everything that is going on in training and having to adapt and get used to that before even thinking about playing. From what I know, it was the same for Caz, but she has settled in and scored goals. She seems to be doing well from the outside.

Real Madrid tried to sign you on a free in the summer.

There was a call. I don't recall The only teams that caught my attention were Lyon and Barcelona. There were teams in the United States. I told my agent that I wanted Barcelona and Lyon.

Do you want to remain in Europe?

It's a different kind of league compared to what we have in Europe. I did think about it. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to play for another world class team and live in Barcelona and I was never going to turn it down.


England's Lucy Bronze, Fran Kirby, Ellen White and Beth Mead are participating in a quiz.

You played in France and now in Catalonia in the Spanish league. What are the languages going to look like?

I am more proficient in Portuguese than Catalan. Both languages have aided me greatly. I was able to pick up the sound quickly. I usually use a Portuguese or French accent when I speak. Within a year, I would like to be able to speak Spanish.

There are a lot of English speakers in the dressing room.

Geyse, who's Brazilian, is the only foreign player who speaks English. It's nice to have a place where you can feel at home. We are comfortable because a few girls speak English with each other. We know each other so well that it's good for us to have each other. It has been simpler to settle in.

Walsh's position at the base of the middle as a pivot is very specialized at Barcelona. She is doing well.

It will take time, but she is settled in. The crucial role in the Barcelona side has always been in the middle of the field and it has always had the best players. The bicyle that do that is the one that keeps the ball for Barcelona. It's a big ask for a player to come into that position, but there is no player more prepared and capable of doing that than Keira. If anyone can do it, it's her, she's the most technical player with England.

There is a lot of communication that needs to happen, so it's about getting that up. Even if she doesn't speak the language she has already made good friends with and they're like best friends, she's such a likeable personality that even if she doesn't speak the language she has already made good friends with, she's still such a likeable You want to know how they are communicating. They link well on the field because of their relationship. A person with that type of personality.

Lucy Bronze has been praised as one of the best right-backs in the world for England and now for Barcelona. Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Tell us about your position as a right-back.

Bronze is a new way to play the position. I'm asked to do different things in different games. Depending on who is playing, we change our style. We have a lot of world class players and we play a lot. Sometimes I'm asked to be more aggressive. Depending on who I am playing with, the relationship I need to have with the player next to me, in front of me or in the middle of the field. Every game learns a new thing. After the game, the coaches do a lot of clips with you. Every player is given feedback after a game. It was the first time I had that before. There are all those things.

Do you enjoy that part of the game?

If it's just me, I like watching my own performances and seeing if I did well or not. The best way to improve is to see both the good and bad things. It's good that they write what they see and think for us. They write in English which is useful for me.

We do analysis at every club, but never that level of individual insight like I have here. Every game is analysed on an individual basis. It's nice to have your own stuff that you can watch at home and improve your skills. Everything is given to you to improve on your own.

Everyone says the training is more intense at this club. Do you just say it?

It's the intensity. The players at Lyon were just as good as the Spanish girls. I have played with some of the best players in the world and the likes of Marozsan are some of the best I have ever played with. The way they want to play is very intense in the environment we have here. Everything we do is the same as in one small game.

The growth of Spanish players in the last five years is due to the fact that Barcelona changed their training methods. Five years ago no one was talking about the likes of Aitana, Patri, Mapi, and Leon, but now they are among the best in the world. The intensity of training here has made everyone better.

There's a beautiful game here. You can watch tournaments and teams.

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Did that surprise you?

I expected training and the players to be good, but it still surprised me, how high it was. The level was high at Lyon, but the intensity was so high that it surprised me.

Have you watched the talent here before?

I think she was 18 when I was there and Lyon was a good place to develop young people. There are 100 of them at Barcelona. These players are just like clones and clones. On Thursday, we had a game where we put on three or four kids so we could rest players. Half of the younger players came with us and the level didn't go down. I don't think I've ever seen that in England. The training in Barcelona was based on the methodology.

The Women's Super League has been criticized for being a one- team league.

The same thing happened in Lyon. It was difficult for the other teams to compete with Lyon. The same thing happened in Spain. People say the other teams are not good, but I have been pleasantly surprised by the level of some of the teams. We have a good squad at Barcelona. We can change our XI as well. That is what is happening in England. People say "Oh Barcelona always win" or "Lyon always win", yet an English team has not won the European Championship for years and years. They have.

If you look at it in a different way, it's different. They dominated their domestic league because they were so good. The same thing happened with Barcelona, they were so good that they could dominate domestically and win the trophy. You will likely dominate domestically if you want to win the European Championship. It's necessary to compete at the highest level in Europe's premier club competition. I've seen that from Lyon, Spain and England. It takes a certain level of success to be known as the best team in the world.

What do you think about the European club competition this year?

It's still early, Bronze. Injuries are the main reason for Lyon's poor start. They have a lot of injuries. The likes of Marozsan, Mbock, Hegerberg are unbelievable and could be in another XI. They will be a big threat if they get those players back.

We've done well, we're getting our style back, and we have players injured, but we hope to have them back later in the season. There are a number of teams that have done well, including the ones that are a top team, such as the ones that are a top team, such as the ones that are a top team, such as the ones that are a top team. We want to get to the final and win the trophy. You don't know what it takes in football. A lot of teams think they can win this year.

Barcelona have been off to a strong start in the UEFA Women's Champions League, and again are widely considered a favourite to contend for the title. Eric Alonso/Getty Images

While she's injured, what role has she played?

There is no pressure for her because we have a lot of captains. Everyone wants her to get in shape. I don't think it's necessary for you to push the team too much when you're hurt. She has been wonderful. I have become friends with her. She is working hard to get back in shape. When she needs to be, she is around the team. At the moment, she's doing well. I am yet to play with her, so I am excited for her to get back on the field.

Did you speak to her about the serious injury you had at the start of your career?

I spoke to her. I think people don't know what's going on. There is nothing I can do about what has happened to my knees, but I did tell her about it. I have to get on with it. Sharing stories may help her understand her knee better.

Sharing experiences and knowing other people have gone through the same thing makes you feel a little better that you can get out of it. I made it to the top of my game despite going through all that. She is at the top of her game, so she can come back at the end of this injury, get herself even higher, do even more, push herself even more, and learn a bit about herself that she wouldn't have learned if she was injured.

Would you have believed that you would be playing for Barcelona and a European champion with England?

I was so focused and determined that I could achieve anything. Being injured, working at Dominos, not being in favor with England, and having zero pounds in my bank account were some of the things that led to it.

The path was a difficult one, with a lot of obstacles in the way, but the fact that I was so driven and motivated pushed me to now. It's nice to think back to when Dominos were a face of their campaign, when they were a European champion, and when they were the best player in the world. It's nice to think about the journey, but it doesn't mean it's over. When I'm retired, I'll be proud of how it started and ended.

There was a Wembley final with England. What do you think will happen?

The girls who played there last year think it will be great. It's not easy to compare it to England, but I think it will be the same feeling of crazy fans that love the team. I had never experienced a feeling like that before playing for England. I feel the same way as I did in the Euros with English fans when I came to Barcelona.

It's something I have with the Barcelona fans. I am very excited to have the chance to play for Barcelona. It's important to have that feeling. I just stood in the stadium and walked out after signing, it was crazy. We thought we could fill that stadium and play a big game. There is a similarity between England and Germany. I am excited to see it.