Reigning FIFA women's player of the year Carli Lloyd has joined Manchester City, becoming the second high-profile US player to move to a quarter-finalist after Lyon's Alex Morgan.
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Reigning FIFA women's player of the year Carli Lloyd has signed for Manchester City, becoming the second high-profile United States player to join a UEFA Women's Champions League quarter-finalist after Lyon snapped up Alex Morgan.
Midfielder Lloyd, 34, has spent her entire playing career in the US but comes to a City team who won the English title unbeaten last year and are in Europe's last eight at the first attempt. The acquisition of Lloyd follows City's other winter signings Keira Walsh, Abbie McManus, Megan Campbell and Melissa Lawley.
Lloyd arrives from Houston Dash on a short-term contract until early June, covering the Spring Series (which FA Women's Super League clubs are competing in to cover the switch to a winter season), the FA Women's Cup and, crucially for the two-time Olympic gold medallist, the UEFA Women's Champions League, where City have reached the quarter-finals en debut.
Lloyd told CityTV: "I'm thrilled to be here and I'm looking forward to starting up and meeting team-mates. This is a unique opportunity and I couldn’t be prouder to be part of the club here in Manchester.
"It's definitely an unbelievable opportunity to be able to compete in the Spring Series, the FA Cup and most importantly the Champions League. I wouldn't have that opportunity if I didn't come over here. I'm really looking forward to it – I want to continue to get better and I'm going to be playing with some real world-class players."
Carli Lloyd: the lowdown
• Capped more than 200 times and on 96 international goals, Lloyd has made her reputation as a player who shines on the biggest occasions.
• She showed that in the 2008 Olympics, when her extra-time goal gave the US gold in the final against Brazil.
• Four years later Lloyd was at in again with both goals as the US beat world champions Japan 2-1 at Wembley to take 2012 Olympic gold.
• In 2015 the US travelled to the World Cup having waited 16 years since their previous triumph. Again Lloyd starred, with the only goal of the quarter-final with China and converting a penalty to put the US in front in the 2-0 last-four defeat of Germany.
• But it was against Japan where Lloyd truly wrote her name into history, taking just 16 minutes in Vancouver to become the first player since Geoff Hurst to net a senior World Cup final hat-trick, completed with a strike from the halway line. The US won 5-2, Lloyd finishing as finals joint-top scorer on six goals and earning the Golden Ball as player of the tournament.
• The following January, Lloyd was named 2015 FIFA Women's World Player of the Year and she effectively retained that crown last month when topping the voting for Best FIFA Women's Player.
Should City claim the European title in Cardiff on 1 June, Lloyd will become only the third American to triumph in the competition after Alex Krieger and Gina Lewandowski with FFC Frankfurt in 2008. Lewandowski, now at Bayern München, is one of five other Americans currently vying for UEFA Women's Champions League glory, including new Lyon signing Alex Morgan.
Just one American has ever been in the squad of a men's UEFA Champions League-winning club, but Jovan Kirovski did not actually play in Borussia Dortmund's 1996/97 success.
- Other Americans in 2016/17 UEFA Women's Champions League quarter-finals ...
Janelle Cordia – Fortuna Hjørring
Claire Falknor, Gina Lewandowski – Bayern München
Ella Masar – Rosengård
Alex Morgan – Lyon
- Americans that have played in UEFA Women's Cup/UEFA Women's Champions League finals ...
Alex Krieger*, Gina Lewandowski – FFC Frankfurt, 2008
Stacey Peterson – Fortuna Hjørring, 2003
Venus James – Djurgården, 2005
Gina Lewandowski – FFC Frankfurt, 2012
Megan Rapinoe* – Lyon, 2013
Whitney Engen*, Meghan Klingenberg*, Christen Press* – Tyresö, 2014
*Member of 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup-winning squad