2022/2023 Season Review: Barcelona’s excellence in defense – The Defenders (Part 2)

2022/2023 Season Review: Barcelona's excellence in defense - The Defenders
Photo: Sara Gordon – FC Barcelona

In this miniseries, we’ve been looking at the exceptional defensive display showcased by Barcelona Femeni in the recently concluded 2022–2023 season. First, we took a look at the contributions and performances of the goalkeepers, and then we delved into those of the defenders. In our previous post, we took a look at the Barcelona backline, specifically the first-choice center-backs, Mapi Leon and Irene Paredes.

In this post, we will be taking a look at the first-choice full-backs, Fridolina Rolfo and Lucy Bronze. We will delve into their qualities and their impact on Barcelona‘s defense.

The Full Backs: Fridolina Rolfo & Lucy Bronze

Fridolina Rolfo

Fridolina Rolfo is a footballer known for her versatile skill set, with defensive ability being a key component of her game. Rolfo’s defensive brilliance adds a crucial dimension to her total impact on the field as a player who can succeed on both the offensive and defensive ends of the field. Besides her abilities as a defender, Rolfo’s attacking attribute is one of the things that makes her an exceptional player.

Tenacity in defense

Fridolina Rolfo’s defensive prowess is demonstrated by her fierce one-on-one defense abilities. She excels in individual duels, outwitting foes, and regaining possession by using her agility, quickness, and tactical intelligence. Rolfo is a strong defender because of her capacity to stay close to her target, anticipate movements, and execute well-timed tackles or interceptions. She is a valuable asset for her squad because of her relentless pursuit and unwavering commitment when taking action in defense.

Interception and Disruption

Rolfo’s defensive prowess extends beyond individual defense, as she is a player who excels at team defense as well. She exhibits excellent foresight and game reading, which enable her to make vital interceptions and thwart opponents’ offensive plans. Her ability to break up opposition attacks and intercept passes efficiently helps her team regain control and transition into counter-attacks. Rolfo can effectively neutralize threats thanks to her defensive propensities and game-reading skills.

Defensive Awareness and Versatility

Her excellent defensive awareness and adaptability are the foundation of Fridolina Rolfo’s defensive prowess. She possesses a strong understanding of defensive positioning, ensuring she is well-positioned to track opposing players and cut off passing lanes. Rolfo’s versatility allows her to excel on the left flank as a full-back.  Her ability to adapt provides tactical flexibility for her team, as she switches between roles without losing her defensive efficacy.

Leadership and Communication

Fridolina Rolfo excels as a leader both on and off the field, and this enhances her defensive skills. She organizes the defensive line and provides leadership during the game while efficiently communicating with her colleagues. Rolfo’s vocal presence and ability to inspire and motivate those around her make her a trusted leader within the team. Her leadership and communication skills contribute to a well-coordinated defensive unit.

Attacking Prowess

With her overlapping runs on the flank and her timely arrivals in the box, Rolfo adds some level of dynamism to Barcelona’s attack. The Sweden international registered 8 goals and 8 assists in Liga F this season. In the Champions League, she assisted 2 goals while scoring 4 of her own, including the winning goal against Wolfsburg in the final. 

Fridolina Rolfo’s defensive ability sets her apart as a remarkable player in women’s football. With tenacious one-on-one defending, interception skills, defensive awareness, and versatility, Rolfo consistently delivers exceptional performances. Her work rate, determination, leadership, and communication skills further enhance her defensive contributions. As she continues to showcase her defensive prowess, Fridolina Rolfo remains a defensive dynamo, epitomizing defensive excellence in women’s football.

Lucy Bronze

In women’s football, Lucy Bronze is recognized as one of the best defenders in the sport. Bronze has continually demonstrated her defensive prowess with her tremendous agility, immense athleticism, technical skill, and unwavering determination, Bronze has consistently showcased her defensive ability, earning her a reputation as a defensive powerhouse.

Explosive Speed and Physicality

Her explosive speed and strong presence on the field are two characteristics that most describe Lucy Bronze’s defensive skills. Renowned for her lightning-quick acceleration and remarkable stamina, Bronze covers ground effortlessly, making her a formidable force in chasing down opponents and recovering possession. Her physicality allows her to win physical battles, hold off attackers, and assert dominance in one-on-one situations.

Tactical Awareness

Lucy Bronze’s remarkable tactical awareness and game-reading skills serve as the foundation for her brilliant defense. She possesses an innate understanding of defensive positioning, enabling her to anticipate and successfully intercept passes. Because of her keen sense of timing, Bronze is able to make crucial interceptions, break up opposition attacks, and initiate counter-attacks for her team. 


Bronze’s agility and adaptability on the field are enhanced by her defensive abilities. She can thrive at both center-back and right-back, among other defensive positions. Because of her versatility, Bronze can switch between positions with ease, giving her squad more tactical options. She retains her defensive prowess regardless of position, demonstrating her capacity to thrive in many systems, and offers stability and consistency at the back.

Exceptional Ball Control and Distribution

In addition to her defensive capabilities, Lucy Bronze possesses outstanding technical skills. She is an invaluable asset when starting assaults from deep areas because of her excellent ball control and delivery. Bronze’s ability to confidently carry the ball forward and deliver accurate passes enables her team to launch quick and effective counter-attacks. Her ball-handling skills give her defensive prowess a creative edge and an attacking danger.

Fearless and Determined Approach

Lucy Bronze’s defensive ability is fueled by her fierce and tenacious approach to the game. She embraces challenges, never shying away from physical battles or high-pressure situations. Bronze is an inspiration for her teammates and a difficult opponent for attackers thanks to her everlasting dedication and competitive nature. Her relentless work ethic and refusal to be beaten are qualities that set her apart as a defensive powerhouse.

Attacking Prowess

The English full-back registered 3 goals and 2 assists in Liga F this season. In the Champions League, she assisted 1 goal in the recently concluded season.

Lucy Bronze’s defensive ability cements her status as one of the premier defenders in women’s football. Bronze routinely outperforms the competition in her defensive responsibilities thanks to her explosive speed, toughness, tactical knowledge, adaptability, and great technical skills. Her defensive contributions extend beyond mere shutouts and tackles, as she plays an instrumental role in initiating attacks and influencing the game in multiple facets. Lucy Bronze, who has left her stamp on the sport and represents the pinnacle of a defensive dynamo in women’s football, is still a force to be reckoned with.

The European Champion’s defensive performance in the recently concluded season was nothing short of exceptional. With a solid backline, a well-structured defensive setup, and remarkable individual performances, Barcelona proved to be a daunting challenge for their opponents. The team’s defensive success was a testament to their collective effort, tactical acumen, and unyielding spirit. As they look forward to future seasons, FC Barcelona Femeni’s resolute defense will undoubtedly remain a crucial aspect of their continued success in women’s football.

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