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Battle of Turin: Its defending champs vs all time champs

Barcelona may be defending champions of Women Champions league but they will be up against biggest champions of all-time according to Lyon’s Catarina Macario while baring her mind ahead tonight’s showdown in Tunrin.

Macario admits Lyon are out to prove they’re still Europe’s “top dogs”

The French side go into the game against the defending champions as slight underdogs with bookmakers despite being the most successful club in the competition’s history.

“They’re a great team, they’re obviously well-coached and it’s going to be a great game to play,” Macario says about her opponents.

“But, at the end of the day, we’re also Lyon so I feel it’s a battle of the best teams in Europe. You have the reigning champions and the biggest champions of all-time, so it’s going to be one for the history books.”

“If you look at the history of the Champions League it’s just Lyon, Lyon, Lyon essentially. I think it’s outstanding to see the growth of women’s football but we’re very much still here and very much the top dogs.”

Lyon are seven-time champions, including five in-a-row before Barcelona ended their winning run last season.

The Catalan side, however, have never beaten Lyon. Their most famous defeat was a 4-1 blowout in the 2019 Final, something seen in Barcelona as the catalyst and motivation for the success that’s followed.

Both teams come into this game in Turin with unbeaten domestic records this season. Lyon have won 19 of their 20 league games this season, Barcelona finished the Spanish season with 30 wins in 30 matches.

This season has seen Macario flourish, coming into Saturday’s final as her team’s top scorer and an embedded starter for the US national team.

A stellar college career in the States saw the Brazil-born forward forgo her final year at university to join Lyon 18 months ago but she admits she struggled when she first came to France during the pandemic.

“Coming to a new country is always different, as is coming from college to professional football. It took some time to get used to.

A key to Lyon gaining their eighth Champions League trophy may well be the return to fitness of former Ballon d’Or winner Ada Hegerberg.

The Norwegian scored a hat-trick when Lyon beat their Spanish rivals to win the competition three years ago and Macario admits having her back from her 20-month injury lay-off is vital.

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