UWCL final: Alexia Putellas shows she’s ‘queen of Barcelona’

Lucy Bronze has said Alexia Putellas showed why she is the “queen of Barcelona” after the two-time Ballon d’Or winner came off the bench to score the second goal in Barcelona‘s 2-0 Champions League final win over Lyon on Saturday.

Putellas fired home in stoppage time after Aitana Bonmatí had opened the scoring earlier in the second half as Barça sealed back-to-back Champions League trophies, winning the competition for a third time in four years.

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“Alexia is the captain of the team and she’s the queen of Barcelona for a reason,” England defender Bronze told DAZN after the game.

“She’s always so confident in the team and she showed today why she is a back-to-back Ballon d’Or winner.

“She’s got the quality to do that in the last minute of the Champions League final when we were up against it at the end and it just sealed the win for us. It was amazing.”

Barça — who boasted the lion’s share of the 50,827 attendance at San Mamés in Bilbao, which was a record for a Women’s Champions League final — had never beaten French champions Lyon in four previous attempts.

Two of those defeats came in Champions League finals, in 2019 and 2022, and there was a feeling they needed to beat the eight-time European champions to really establish themselves as one of the best teams ever.

“We knew that’s what we needed to be a club that really made history,” Bronze said.

“It’s hard to win it once, but to do it back-to-back, Lyon showed how difficult it is and this team has finally done that. I think we go down in history as one of the best teams in Europe.”

Success in Europe follows a domestic treble — Liga F, the Copa de la Reina and the Spanish Supercopa — as Barça win the quadruple for the first time in the club’s history.

Putellas, who signed a new two-year contract earlier this week, said winning back-to-back European trophies and all four trophies was the target set at the start of the campaign.

“Our objective was to win four out of four,” the Spain international told TVE. “After the Champions League final last season, we said we wanted to be here in Bilbao because we knew what it would mean.

“We can’t ask for anything else. We have achieved everything we wanted. Every minute of sacrifice has been worth the effort — and I’d say that not after the game, but before, just entering in the stadium, with all the support we had here, it was worth it.”

Ballon d’Or owner Bonmatí also praised the role of the travelling support in the north of Spain.

“It’s incredible … just incredible,” she told TVE. “It feels like Camp Nou, [the Olympic Stadium in] Montjuic or the Johan [Cruyff Stadium]. All we can say is thanks to the fans, we love them so much.

“No [winning the quadruple has not sunk in yet]. I am on cloud nine right now. It is an historic day which we will remember for ever.”

Victory over Lyon also signals the end of an era for coach Jonatan Giráldez, who will join NWSL side Washington Spirit next month.

Giráldez leaves after winning 10 trophies out of 12 during three years in charge, reaching the Champions League final in each of those seasons.

“It’s impossible [to imagine a better send off],” he told TVE. “It’s a dream day. It is difficult to explain with words the feeling I have right now.

“It is such a special moment. I am proud of all the players, the staff and fans that have been here. It is one of happiest days of my life.

“I hope the night goes on for a long time, that we can enjoy it and celebrate with everyone who is here because it’s an unforgettable day.”