Aitana Bonmatí: “We would like there to be a ‘vendetta’ but we want to win to be the best”

Mariona Caldentey: “In 2019 his superiority was overwhelming and now things are different; there is a desire for ‘vendetta’, yes”


Lyon’s victory over Barça Femení in the 2019 Women’s Champions League final, the first in the team’s history, prepared the surviving players of that squad well to, in 2021, touch the sky with the first ‘ Champions’ for the entity and, this Saturday, they will seek to revalidate the crown and savor the revenge in Turin, against some French women who had won five titles in a row.

There is a desire for ‘revenge’, revenge or ‘revenge’ in Barcelona. But, being the final at the Juventus Stadium, what the Blaugrana players will be looking for is a ‘vendetta’. Winning Lyon, a team they have never been able to knock down, would allow them to shake off the pain of that 2019 defeat and, incidentally, confirm the opening of a new era in European women’s football.

That final three years ago was marked by inequality as a result of Lyon’s superiority over any other team, including a Barça that was still taking the foundations, the wickers, of what it is now. But by then, Lyon had just won five ‘Champions’, three of them consecutively, and the Catalans could not avoid the sixth for the French.

In that group that lost 4-1 at the Ferencváros Stadion in Budapest (Hungary) were nine players from the current squad. They are Sandra Paños, Marta Torrejón, Mapi León, Leila Ouahabi, Aitana Bonmatí, Alexia Putellas, Lieke Martens, Asisat Oshoala and Mariona Caldentey.

When asked by Europa Press at the Media Day organized by the club, three of them agree that there is a desire for revenge and to be able to show that they are already at the same level, or higher, than a Lyon that marked a long era of success and of supremacy in Europe, with those seven Champions Leagues between 2011 and 2020.

“We would like there to be a ‘vendetta’ but we don’t have to focus everything, all our energy, on whether or not there is a ‘vendetta’. You have to focus on doing everything possible to win the match. But you don’t have to win to achieve revenge yes or yes, we want to win because we want to be the best. And that’s it”, acknowledged Aitana Bonmatí, one of the players who has grown the most since then.

So much so, that it was key in the victory in the 2021 final against Chelsea (0-4) at the Gamla Ullevi in ​​Gothenburg (Sweden). In fact, she was the ‘MVP’ of the final. “We have to try to isolate ourselves from the pressure of having won. Because this is football and some days you win and others you lose. We don’t have to go out to the game with the pressure that we have to win yes or yes. It’s enough with our character, which is to want to win,” he said.

Another survivor of that lost final against Lyon is one of the captains, Marta Torrejón. The winger assures that, from defeats like that, positive things are also obtained. “You learn as much from the victories as from the defeats, and sometimes more from the defeats. Knowing that if you don’t give one hundred percent and come out on top from the first moment, these teams can always pass you over or make things difficult for you” , warning.

Torrejón remembers perfectly how that final was, and wants to celebrate that ‘vendetta’ like the most. “In the first 15 minutes we were already 2-0 down. We didn’t know how to close spaces, and Ada (Hegerberg) turned everything into a goal. We knew it could happen to us, in the second half we had a little more control, for least of not giving them so much ball and chances. We were even able to score. It was a turning point to work more and get to where we have come”, he assured.

Forward Mariona Caldentey, for her part, was more explicit about her desire for revenge. “We have never beaten Lyon. In the final of the ‘Champions’, in previous matches or in this preseason in Portland. We have never won them and this team, this Barça, really likes new challenges and stimuli and Saturday would be a good moment for the revenge”, was sincere.

“These days we have talked about the 2019 final, but at the level of images it is like a long time ago. In football in three years many things change. But I remember that their superiority was overwhelming, we noticed that we had no options. Now things are different and We will try to prove it on Saturday. There is a desire for a ‘vendetta’, yes, because we have never won them”, he explained.

But that feeling of revenge is not only alive in the players who suffered that heavy defeat. One of the new faces, like the versatile Swedish winger, forward and even winger Fridolina Rolfö, assures that she knows what it is like to lose a final like this and that she joins the collective spirit of wanting to finally beat Lyon.

“Lyon in 2019 was in its era, they were winning and they were very good. They played a great final. But I think something has changed since then and Barça knew and knows what to do to be at that level. And in this final we are that level. The goal is to win the final but there is also some revenge, of course. We have a lot of motivation to finally win them. All we want to do is win, “he appealed.