Olympique Lyonnais and England defender Lucy Bronze has been crowned BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year 2018.

Thousands of fans from across the world cast their votes as the 26-year-old 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.

“It’s really special,” Bronze said.

“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.”

Bronze, who headed Manchester City’s opening goal as they beat Birmingham City 4-1 to win the Women’s FA Cup for the first time in May 2017, 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.

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