"They were a very young team, they had no experience. They had the ball and they played well, but we knew we were stronger." Who knew it was Emma Byrne, goalkeeper of that Arsenal who welcomed Barça in his debut in the Champions League in September 2012. The Blaugrana had won the league the previous year and debuted in Europe. They did it with intrigue, without finishing knowing how far or near they would compete, and with a point of admiration -and almost fear- towards the most experienced rivals. The draw was crossed by one of the champions in previous editions, and the outcome was forceful. "We were surprised by the association football they did, there was a moment in the past that we doubted if we had given too much for granted before. But then we set our pace and, above all at home, we went Show them who we were ", recalls Byrne. "We lost 0-3 in the Mini and 4-0 in London. It was a really shocking team," recalls Vicky Losada.
The terracing would end up playing precisely at the club 'gunner' three seasons later, in one of the parentheses that distanced her from Barcelona to know other levels of professionalism in football. Barça just started the strategic bet that, now in 2019, picks up the fruits with the Champions League final in Budapest, but for many players the only way to make a leap forward forced the suitcase. This departure from Barça's routine is now a kind of extra force that Losada gives perspective and ambition. "When we return those that we have played out, we return to tell the colleagues that we have a lot of level. We have to grow in competitiveness, because in the United States or in England there is a point more than us, and that is what makes the difference ". He scored that 2012 and has been marking it in later years in Europe, where he played with Wolfsburg, Paris Saint-Germain or Olympique de Lyon was to hit an unsurpassed wall.
Reinforce key positions
"The team did not have a strong backbone. To compete well in the Champions League, you have to have a great goalkeeper, a good defense, a powerful person in the middle of the field and a differential player at the top, who makes goals. Barça then did not have it ". At eleven Xavi Llorens there was Esther Sullastres under poles – he had just signed up, he was aligned against the prognosis and did not have a fair performance, punished by the nerves and lack of shooting with the team – a defensive line that He was replaced in the following years in search of more speed, the young Alexia Putellas and Gemma Gili in the machine room, and the main threat of Sonia Bermúdez, who had not exploded in Barça's context as he would. Losada was on the bench. "Over the years we have been adding things, especially more physical capacity, more speed. Having this brings more versatility to our game, which was what we needed," commented in the ARA Melanie Serrano.
"The team did not have a strong backbone to compete well in the Champions League"
"It was basic to improve this and learn to be more competitive." Byrne's look is critical, it's direct. Vicky Losada listens and settles, mentally reviewing the things that confirm the improvement of the team right now. The lineup in Budapest will feature one of the best goalkeeper in Europe, Sandra Paños, who, according to Emma, "is performing at a spectacular level, stopped a lot against Bayern" – two of the fixed centers of the Spanish team, Mapi León and Andrea Pereira, half of the field that has already accumulated many international minutes in the legs, with Vicky Losada and Alexia Putellas in the organization, and power and quality to the offensive trident, with Lieke Martens, Toni Duggan , Asho Oshoala and Mariona Caldentey in full shape. The loss of Kheira Hamraoui will be sensitive, but Vicky can substitute it. "I'm more comfortable in a more advanced role, but for many years I've been playing for Barça and if I play 6, I know what I have to do," he assumes safely.
"Jugo more comfortable more up, but if I play to play 6, I know how to do it"
Year after year, after the match, the team has matured and has been able to trim the distance that seven years ago placed teams like Arsenal in another orbit. Unbeatable "We were lucky with the draws, which allowed us to gain experience and overcome some rounds. If we had always played Arsenal, we would not be here," imagines Vicky. Thanks to BIIK Kazygurt, Twente, Rosengard and company, Barça now looks at the final with the least frightened eyes. "Olympique de Lyon is a great team, it has very dangerous players on the outside, they dribble well and they are fast. Barça will do well not to leave too many spaces, they should all be very helpful in defense," Byrne warns. Losada already imagines the coverage he has to do, as against Bayern Munich. "We suffered a lot. That game should serve as a learning for the final".
The end The end The end Many days ago we talked about this Championship final. First. Unique Historic Exciting Very complicated "But it's funny because I think there was more pressure in the semi-finals. You play at home, at the Mini there are your people, you have won there and you feel that you can not fail … I think the final will be more easy to play ". It is not an easy literal, obviously, because any of the imaginable scenes against the almighty Lyon claims good, attention and courage. "I do not want to think more about the game in the game, because otherwise, when I play, I will be fatigued," Losada acknowledges. It is also Byrne's advice, which recommends "disconnecting" in the previous hours. Total, then just play soccer, "a game like you've played 20,000 before". "I suppose that when I go to the field and see the stadium it will be when I think," Oysters, Vicky, you did not play anything in the terraces of a neighborhood in Terrassa and now you are in a Champions League final! " A Champions final. Impensable does not so much.