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Barcelona make history and spark a rivalry that will propel women’s football forward

A 2-0 victory over Lyon sealed Barcelona’s third Champions League title, as well as a historic quadruple for the season.

Barcelona's Alexia Putellas lifts the Champions League trophy as confetti falls around her.
Barcelona's Alexia Putellas lifts the Champions League trophy after defeating Lyon 2-0 on May 25, 2024 in Bilbao, Spain. (Photo credit: Daniela Porcelli / SPP)

Barcelona completed football on Saturday night.

It started when Aitana Bonmati wheeled around and took off at a sprint, shaking her fists and flapping her hands as if to lap up the adulation from thousands of Barcelona fans. She had just put Barcelona in front against Olympique Lyonnais in a Champions League final. This was new territory, even for a team as dominant as the Catalan side. It was fitting that Barcelona’s most prized player, their Ballon d’Or winner, with her dynamic run into the box and dinking, deflected shot had pushed her club into the unknown, towards the brink of their greatest ever triumph. 

Then, in stoppage time, with almost her first touch of the game, fellow Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas – who has been dogged by injury in recent seasons – curled in a stunning goal that guaranteed the victory. She whipped off her shirt, Brandi Chastain style, and the first teammate to join her was Bonmati.

Even their outgoing manager Jonatan Giraldez could not contain himself, and he bolted towards a group of fans behind the goal in wild celebrations. Later, he called it “one of the best days of my life.”

The 2-0 victory sealed Barcelona’s third Champions League title, a historic quadruple this season and arguably the club’s most significant trophy – simply because it came at the expense of their most difficult opponent. This was the final thing Barcelona and Giraldez had left to prove, that they could outdo Lyon, the team that has outdone Europe for close to 15 years.

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