Lucy Bronze Wins FIFA's 2020 Best Women's Player Award

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Lucy Bronze became the first defender to win FIFA's Women's Player of the Year award, claiming the honors at Thursday's "The Best" virtual ceremonies.

The England fullback split her 2020 between French power Lyon and English Women's Super League's Manchester City, building on last year's third-place finish by claiming the top billing this year after helping Lyon to a fifth straight Women's Champions League title and a 14th straight French league championship.

Bronze beat her former club teammate and France center back, Wendie Renard, and Chelsea record signing and Denmark international forward Pernille Harder for the award.

An American player had made the final three in all but four of the previous years FIFA had given out its top women's player award, with Megan Rapinoe winning it in 2019, Carli Lloyd winning in 2015 and 2016, Abby Wambach winning in 2012 and Mia Hamm winning the first two, in 2001 and 2002.

Alyssa Naeher was the only American player among the finalists for any award this year, falling short of Lyon and France goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi for Best Women's Goalkeeper.

U.S. veterans Tobin Heath and Megan Rapinoe were named to the FIFPro Women's World XI–a distinction that came as a surprise to Rapinoe. She hasn't played a match since the March SheBelieves Cup, and she used the opportunity to be thankful while also shedding light on the need for greater attention to be paid to the women's game.

Heath and Rapinoe were joined on the World XI by: PSG/Chile goalkeeper Christiane Endler; Bronze, Renard, Chelsea/England defender Millie Bright; Utah Royals/Spain midfielder Vero Boquete, Juventus/Italy midfielder Barbara Bonansea, Lyon/France midfielder Delphine Cascarino; Harder and Arsenal/Netherlands forward Vivianne Miedema.