Lyon secured a record-extending eighth Women's Champions League title with a 3-1 victory over Barcelona on Saturday at the Allianz Stadium 

Defending champions Barca had only lost one competitive game all season but found themselves three goals down after first-half strikes from Amandine Henry, Ada Hegerberg and Catarina Macario. 

Blaugrana captain Alexia Putellas pulled one back just before the interval, but Lyon controlled the second half in Turin to ease to another European success. 

Lyon required just six minutes to take the lead as Henry scored an incredible solo goal, dancing inside from the left before firing a remarkable, long-range effort into the top-right corner. 

Jennifer Hermoso was denied by Christiane Endler as Barca looked to respond, but Lyon struck again when Selma Bacha crossed for Hegerberg, who headed in her 59th goal in 60 Champions League games. 

Hegerberg almost added a third but Sandra Panos raced out to thwart the striker, who turned provider in the 33rd minute by teeing up a simple tap-in for Macario. 

Putellas reduced the deficit by volleying home Caroline Graham Hansen's right-wing centre, while Patri Guijarro hit the crossbar with an audacious strike from the halfway line after the interval. 

Barca substitute Asisat Oshoala headed a golden opportunity wide and Hegerberg saw a stoppage-time volley hit the post as Lyon cruised to victory. 

Lyon coach Sonia Bompastor says Saturday's Women's Champions League final against Barcelona will be a "50-50" affair, despite the Blaugrana's favourites tag.

The French outfit are seeking an eighth title against Jonatan Giraldez's side, who have suffered just one loss this term across all competitions.

Bompastor is seeking to become the first woman to win the Champions League as both a player and a manager after 2011 and 2012 triumphs with Lyon.

The chance for looming history means she is determined her side will not be discounted in Turin.

"Let's not forget Lyon have a lot of experience," she said at Friday's pre-match news conference. "This allows us to know how to approach it, but a final is 50-50. A magician never reveals their tricks.

"But our team is a talented and we have the skill set necessary to give them a run for their money, which is what we're going to do.

"This is a 10th final for Lyon and the chance to win an eighth title. That's more important than anything for me as an individual."

Barcelona forward Asisat Oshoala, meanwhile, insists her side will not underestimate their opponents and their impressive pedigree too, even on the cusp of a famous clean sweep.

"Lyon are a well respected team in Europe – they won the Champions League five years in a row and they are obviously the team to beat here," she said.

"They're much stronger than they were three years ago. It would be good to win the Champions League again, not because it is Lyon we're playing against but because it's going to be an amazing experience for us to have it back-to-back.

"We're getting closer to our goal, we're getting closer to where we want to be, so on the day I think it's going to be amazing.

"It will be nice to play in front of a full stadium again with an amazing atmosphere, beautiful soccer from beautiful and great teams in Europe."

Arsenal's all-time record goalscorer Vivianne Miedema has ended speculation over her future by signing a new deal with the Women's Super League club.

Miedema's previous deal was due to expire next month, and she had been linked with a move to Barcelona or a team in the United States.

However, the Netherlands international – who has scored 117 goals in 144 games since signing for Arsenal from Bayern Munich in 2017 – has agreed to stay on in north London.

The Gunners confirmed the news on their official website on Friday, although no details were given regarding the length of the contract.

"I think the best thing about football is to build something with a team and people around you that you really want to belong to," Miedema said.

"I feel like I have that at Arsenal. I feel that winning titles with Arsenal will mean a lot more to me than winning them with any other club right now.

"And that, of course, is what I hope to achieve with Arsenal."

Miedema is the WSL's record scorer with 74 goals to her name in the competition, and she won the Golden Boot in both the 2018-19 and 2019-20 campaigns.

The 25-year-old scored 23 goals in 39 appearances across all competitions this season, with Arsenal finishing runners-up to Chelsea in the league.

Arsenal head coach Jonas Eidevall, who signed a new two-year deal two weeks ago, said: "Viv is a stellar talent and a hugely important player for this team.

"It's fantastic news that she is staying with us. As a club, our ambition is to win titles and compete at the highest level.

"We know Viv's own ambitions are the same, and together we will give everything to achieve that."

Barcelona have been praised by Lyon defender Selma Bacha for "helping European football evolve" after the sides booked their places in the Women's Champions League final.

Holders Barca saw their run of 45 successive wins come to an end in Saturday's 2-0 semi-final second-leg defeat to Wolfsburg, but they still advanced 5-3 on aggregate.

The Catalan club are into their third final in four seasons and will be looking to retain the trophy they won for a first time last year when they take on Lyon in Turin on May 21.

Lyon, who with seven titles are the most successful side in the competition's history, beat domestic rivals Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 in the second leg to win the tie 5-3 on aggregate.

That match at the Parc des Princes was watched by 43,254, a record for a women's club game in France.

Barca recently set the record for the highest attendance for a women's club game with 91,648 in attendance for the first leg of the Wolfsburg semi-final.

And Bacha believes Barca deserve huge credit for helping to lift the women's game both on and off the field.

"They are helping European football evolve. They play in a similar way to the men's team and are an example to the rest of women's football," she said.

"When you hear 'Barcelona versus Lyon in the final', it sounds great. I hope there are going to be a lot of fans who come. And we'll do all we can to win it."

 

Lyon have lost only three of their last 44 Women's Champions League matches and have only failed to score in one of their last 36 European games.

Ada Hegerberg opened the scoring for the French side on Saturday with a record-extending 58th goal in the Women's Champions League, and had another ruled out.

Marie-Antoinette Katoto gave PSG hope when scrambling in, but Wendie Renard made sure of progression for Lyon.

"We wanted to come to Paris in an attacking frame of mind," Lyon forward Hegerberg said. "The atmosphere was magnificent. It was a great evening of football. 

"We have to keep going as we are. It's not over, but it's great what we've done. I'm proud of the girls. It was tough. We're going to prepare for the final."

Barcelona were watched by a world-record crowd of 91,648 fans as they hammered Wolfsburg 5-1 in the Women's Champions League semi-finals.

Only last month, a record crowd for a women's football match of 91,553 attended Camp Nou as Barca defeated Real Madrid 5-2 in the same competition.

It was another five-star showing from Jonatan Giraldez's team on Friday, as the attendance record was surpassed.

Barcelona will head into next week's second leg of the last-four tie with a comprehensive lead, thanks to goals from Aitana Bonmati, Caroline Graham Hansen, Jennifer Hermoso and Ballon d'Or winner Alexia Putellas, who scored twice.

Barca are the Champions League holders and look well placed to go on and retain their title. French rivals Lyon and Paris Saint-Germain face off in the other semi-final, with the first leg on Sunday.

Barcelona are setting records as they plough through the Women's Champions League draw, but Wolfsburg are not intimidated as they prepare for a semi-final against the mighty Catalans.

A crowd of 91,553 saw Barcelona crush Real Madrid 5-2 on Wednesday to seal a last-four place, and Jonatan Giraldez's team have won their last 37 games, scoring five or more goals in 18 of those victories.

They last failed to win in pre-season, when edged out 3-2 by Lyon at the Women's International Champions Cup in Portland, and remain on course to successfully defend the Champions League title they won by thrashing Chelsea 4-0 last May in Gothenburg.

Barcelona men's coach Xavi said the packed Camp Nou for the Real Madrid clash marked a "historic day for football and society" as it entered the record books as the best-attended women's game in history.

Wolfsburg, who won the Champions League in 2013 and 2014 and are nicknamed the 'She-Wolves', booked a clash with Barcelona in three weeks' time by beating Arsenal 2-0 on Thursday for a 3-1 aggregate triumph.

Head coach Tommy Stroot said on uefa.com: "The anticipation of meeting Barcelona is huge.

"A chance to go there and to welcome them to Wolfsburg. We know how big a team Barça are, but we want to measure ourselves against the best."

Alexia Putellas hailed Barcelona's win over Real Madrid at a packed-out Camp Nou as "utterly magical" after a record-breaking night in the Women's Champions League.

Ballon d'Or Feminin winner Putellas scored the fourth goal as Barcelona triumphed 5-2 in the second leg, and 8-3 on aggregate, booking a semi-final place.

The reigning European club champions were rampant in the second half, after at one stage being 2-1 down, and the flurry of goals delighted a record crowd of 91,553 spectators.

That is the highest recorded attendance for a women's football game in history. In club football terms, it surpassed the 60,739 that saw Atletico Madrid host Barca at Wanda Metropolitano three years ago.

Captain Putellas said: "This has been utterly magical. When the match finished, the fans simply didn't want to go home. There was such a connection between them and us while we celebrated. To hear them singing that they want to go to Turin was superb."

Arsenal or Wolfsburg await Barcelona in the semi-finals, before Turin's Allianz Stadium, home to Juventus, stages the final on May 21.

Putellas explained that the sight of a bumper crowd inside Barcelona's home stadium was uplifting for the women's team, who play most of their games at the 6,000-capacity Estadi Johan Cruyff.

She said, quoted on uefa.com: "When tickets sold out in just three days I admit that we were all a little surprised because it tells you how much the fans want to see you in the Camp Nou, how much they want you to win."

The experience was "beyond comparison", she added.

"To come out and see this stadium full to the brim... indescribable."

Team-mate Fridolina Rolfo gave the morning-after verdict on Thursday.

"Wow, it is hard to put into words just how special that was," Rolfo wrote on Twitter. "For me it was a dream come true and I hope that it shows young girls all over the world that football is for them and that they can achieve whatever they dream of achieving.

"We are just getting started."

Barcelona eased to a 5-2 victory over rivals Real Madrid at Camp in front of a record crowd to reach the semi-finals of the Women's Champions League 8-3 on aggregate.

Holding a 3-1 lead from last week's first leg in Madrid, Barca did not let the occasion get to them on home soil in front of a confirmed attendance of 91,553 spectators.

The previous record crowd for a women's football match was 60,739 for Atletico Madrid's match against Barca in 2019.

Barca, who have now won 76 of their past 79 matches, will face the winner of the Paris Saint-Germain versus Bayern Munich match later on Wednesday.

Maria Pilar Leon opened the scoring inside eight minutes with a looping shot, though Olga Carmona's penalty and Claudia Zornoza's drive put Madrid 2-1 up on the night.

Madrid were within one goal of Barca on aggregate at that stage, but three strikes in 10 minutes from Aitana Bonmati, Claudia Pina and Ballon d'Or winner Alexia Putellas took the tie out of the visitors' reach.

Caroline Graham Hansen drilled in another for Barca to round off the scoring with 20 minutes to play, giving the expectant home crowd exactly what they were after.

Speaking at full-time, Hansen told DAZN: "This is just too crazy. The crowd are not leaving, they are staying here to celebrate with us.

"It's goosebumps all over the place. It's been amazing, something I never dreamed of happening. 

"In the first half I missed a really big one; then in the second half, I got one and I will remember it all my life. It can make money. If we are having fun, people will want to repeat it."

Barcelona claimed a second Clasico victory in three days as the Blaugranes beat Real Madrid 3-1 in the Women's Champions League quarter-final first leg.

Just 48 hours after Xavi mastered a 4-0 rout at Santiago Bernabeu, the Femeni followed suit at Estadio Alfredo di Stefano; Alexia Putellas scoring twice as they came from behind to record a 40th consecutive win in all competitions.

Despite enjoying 57 per cent of the first-half possession, Barca trailed at the break after Olga Carmona struck in the eighth minute for the hosts, who also hit the post through Esther Gonzalez.

That was only the second goal the reigning champions had conceded in this season's Champions League – and first since their 5-1 rout of Arsenal in September.

But the visitors, who last suffered defeat when they were beaten 4-3 by Atletico Madrid in June 2021, responded in the 53rd minute; Putellas slotting home from 12 yards after VAR ruled that Carmona had fouled Caroline Hansen in the box.

The Blaugranes completed the turnaround nine minutes from time, Claudia Pina drilling home after the ball ricocheted kindly into the substitute's path.

Putellas then wrapped up the victory deep into stoppage time; rounding off a quickfire counter with her seventh goal in the competition - and seventh in six appearances against Madrid.

Paris Saint-Germain superstar Lionel Messi clinched a seventh Ballon d'Or, extending his record as the player to have won the individual accolade on the most occasions.

The 34-year-old enjoyed a fruitful year at club level, scoring 32 times in 40 appearances across all competitions for PSG and Barcelona, but it was his exploits with Argentina that were most impressive, claiming the first major international trophy of his career by winning the Copa America. 

Bayern Munich's prolific striker Robert Lewandowski came second to Messi, but became the first winner of the Striker of the Year award after outscoring every player in Europe's top five leagues, netting 53 times in 42 appearances across all competitions so far in 2021, averaging a goal every 67 minutes.

Messi's PSG team-mate Gianluigi Donnarumma claimed the Yashin Trophy, awarded to the best goalkeeper, and was named 10th in the Ballon d'Or voting.

Donnarumma starred for Italy as they won Euro 2020, making a number of crucial saves in the shoot-out victory over England in the final.

Barcelona and Spain youngster Pedri won the Kopa Trophy after featuring heavily for club and country despite only turning 19 on November 25, also being shortlisted for the Ballon d'Or and finishing 24th.

Another Barca midfielder, Alexia Putellas, picked up the women's top prize, having helped the Catalan giants' women's team to Champions League and domestic glory in 2020-21.

Finally, Chelsea had 11 players nominated across all categories, making them the inaugural Club of the Year winners.

Award winners in full:

Men's Ballon d'Or – Lionel Messi (PSG and Argentina)
Kopa Trophy – Pedri (Barcelona and Spain)
Yashin Trophy – Gianluigi Donnarumma (PSG and Italy)
Club of the Year – Chelsea (England)
Striker of the Year – Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich and Poland)
Women's Ballon d'Or – Alexia Putellas (Barcelona and Spain)

Eric Abidal has pleaded with wife Hayet to forgive him after she demanded a divorce and claimed the former Barcelona and France star confessed to an affair with Kheira Hamraoui.

Hamraoui is the Paris Saint-Germain footballer who was struck with an iron bar by masked attackers outside her home on November 4.

Police investigations into that attack are reported to have led to the discovery of a link between Hamraoui and Abidal, in the shape of a phone chip in Abidal's name being used by Hamraoui.

According to a widely referenced statement from Hayet Abidal's lawyer, Nicolas Cellupica, that was first released to the AFP news agency, the discovery of the phone chip prompted the former footballer to admit he had strayed.

The 42-year-old has now asked his wife to forgive him.

Hamraoui was a member of Barcelona's women's team when Abidal was director of football at the Spanish club from 2018 to 2020, and she moved to PSG in July of this year.

Abidal wrote on Instagram on Tuesday: "Hayet Abidal forgive me. Whatever your decision, you will remain in my eyes the woman of my life, and especially the mother of our wonderful children.

"I deserve this humiliation even if it kills me alive. El hamdouli'allah. An sha' allah one day you will forgive me."

Hamraoui is recovering from the attack for which her PSG team-mate Aminata Diallo was initially considered a suspect.

Diallo has since been released without charge, having strenuously insisted she is innocent of any wrongdoing as police investigations continue.

Hamraoui has not made a public comment on the claims she and Abidal had a relationship.

Jorginho and Roberto Mancini could cap a golden year for Italy by landing UEFA honours after both were shortlisted for top awards on Thursday, though Manchester City duo Kevin De Bruyne and Pep Guardiola could spoil the Azzurri's party.

Azzurri midfielder Jorginho won the Champions League with Chelsea and followed that by helping his country to Euro 2020 glory, under the leadership of coach Mancini.

Jorginho, 29, is joined on the three-man shortlist for UEFA Men's Player of the Year by Chelsea team-mate N'Golo Kante, a standout in the Champions League final, and by City playmaker De Bruyne.

Kante played for France at Euro 2020 and De Bruyne featured for Belgium, but neither side made the progress many anticipated, with Les Bleus eliminated in the last 16 and the Red Devils bowing out to Italy in the quarter-finals.

The three players received the most votes from a panel consisting of the 24 head coaches at Euro 2020, the 80 coaches from the Champions League and Europa League group stages, and journalists from each of UEFA's 55 member associations.

The Men's Coach of the Year shortlist consists of the two coaches from the Champions League final, Chelsea's Thomas Tuchel and City's Guardiola, plus Italy boss Mancini.

It means there is no place for Gareth Southgate, who guided England to their first major men's final since the 1966 World Cup. He finished seventh in voting, UEFA announced, behind Villarreal's Europa League winning boss Unai Emery, Atletico Madrid's Diego Simeone and former Inter coach Antonio Conte.

Like Guardiola, both Simeone and Conte led their club sides to domestic league title success.

The winner of each award will be announced at UEFA's Champions League group stage draw on August 26 in Istanbul.

Barcelona had a clean sweep of the players shortlisted for the Women's Player of the Year prize, following their Spanish league and cup and Champions League treble.

The Spanish duo of Jennifer Hermoso and Alexia Putellas were joined on the list by Dutch club-mate Lieke Martens.

UEFA's women's awards stem from votes from each of the coaches in the Champions League last 16 and the leading 12 coaches according to UEFA's national team rankings, plus a pool of 20 journalists.

Former Barcelona boss Lluis Cortes is joined on that list by Chelsea's Emma Hayes and Sweden coach Peter Gerhardsson.

Barcelona won the Women's Champions League for the first time as a freak early own goal helped them to a 4-0 win over Chelsea.

Melanie Leupolz inadvertently put the ball past her own goalkeeper after just 35 seconds, and a penalty from Alexia Putellas followed by strikes from Aitana Bonmati and Caroline Graham Hansen had Barcelona four goals clear before half-time.

English champions Chelsea were expected to pose a major threat to the Barcelona goal, but key forwards Fran Kirby and Sam Kerr had an off night in Gothenburg.

Barcelona were able to cruise through the second half and become Spain's first winners of the competition, putting a 4-1 defeat to Lyon in the 2019 final firmly behind them.

On that previous occasion, Barcelona trailed 4-0 after 30 minutes, but this time it was Chelsea who suffered from the early onslaught against impressive Spanish league champions.

Lieke Martens hit the bar with a powerful shot from the edge of the penalty area after just 20 seconds, and as Chelsea scrambled to clear, Kirby booted the ball against the shin of team-mate Leupolz, resulting in it looping over goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger and into the top left corner.

Barcelona boss Lluis Cortes watched his team attack with verve and great movement, winning a penalty when Leupolz clipped Jennifer Hermoso. Putellas converted and Barcelona were two goals clear after 14 minutes.

Putellas then picked a pass that released Bonmati to toe in the third, and it was 4-0 after 36 minutes when Graham Hansen buried a close-range chance after Martens dashed down the left and away from Niamh Charles before crossing low across goal.

While Barcelona celebrated, their victory removed the possibility of Chelsea winning both the men's and women's Champions League titles in the same season.

After Emma Hayes' team fell short, Chelsea will hope Thomas Tuchel's men avoid such a sour experience in the men's final on May 29 when they face Manchester City.

Hayes told BT Sport: "Today was difficult because the game was over before it began. That's what is so difficult to reflect on. The damage was done.

"I'm proud of the second-half performance. Congratulations to Barcelona. They're worthy winners and deserving of their title.

"They were favourites for a reason and you have to stay in the game against this team.

"The early goal and the manner in which we conceded it, and the penalty. Once you get a 2-0 lead in these games ... I felt everything fell for them. They got the rub of the green. They made that happen. They're a wonderful team and deserving winners."

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