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Watch: Lyon star Lucy Bronze talks passion — and pay gaps — in women's football

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By Stephanie Burnett
Watch: Lyon star Lucy Bronze talks passion — and pay gaps — in women's football

England's Lucy Bronze has just scooped her first UEFA Champions League trophy with Olympique Lyonnais. Ahead of the finals, Euronews spoke with Bronze at the Groupama OL Training Center in Lyon, where she spoke about her will to be the best player she can be, the pay in women's football, and what needs to be done to improve the game.

The Champions League title marks another milestone for the former Manchester City defender and 2017 Professional Footballer's Association women's player of the year, who joined Lyon last August. The chuffed team at the time said it had signed "without doubt the best full-back in the world".

For Bronze, who hails from northeast England, she knew Lyon was the right fit as soon as she got the call.

"For as long as I can remember, Lyon have been one of, if not the best, teams in Europe," she said to Euronews.

"They're a really dominant team of world-class players. The world's best players play at Lyon and I definitely knew as soon as they came that Lyon was where I wanted to be," she added.

Bronze didn't fall in love with the sport through her passions for a club, as many pros do. Instead, it was all because of her brother — a Manchester United fan — that she took up the sport.

"I wanted to be exactly like my big brother when I was little so I copied everything he did."

She never found club loyalty with United, however, making perhaps for an easier transition when she joined Liverpool FC and Manchester City.

When it comes to women's football clubs and national teams, Bronze said there's still much to be done, especially when it comes to players' salaries.

"I can only say positive things form the teams that I've played for but I definitely think a lot more teams, and countries as well, could do a lot more to help the young girls and the females who are actually playing international football."

Lyon is the best-paid women's team in the world — in any sport — with an average salary of €162,000, according to the Sporting Intelligence annual salary survey. The average salary in England's FA Women’s Super League is €30,537.

"You look at the World Cups and Euros and there are still players there that, they're not professional players, which is crazy in this day and age — that so many top players are still having to work and do other things," said Bronze.

It's also these circumstances, she says, that brings out grit in the sport.

"I think in women's football you see a lot that the players that do make it are the ones that are tough-skinned. So in women's football, yeah, the resources aren't always there for people, the funding's not always there, but sometimes it makes the best players," said Bronze, adding that it gives players a "bit more of an edge".

"It's not just about the money or just success. They're driven, this is their dream."

While Bronze now revels in Champions League glory, the 26-year-old will soon have to focus on a bigger goal in Lyon. The FIFA Women's World Cup will be hosted in Lyon, where, should the England Lionesses qualify, Bronze will be full steam ahead.

Video editor • Sallyann Nicholls