Barcelona’s Irene Paredes: ‘We don’t want to be the new Lyon’

(Photo courtesy of FC Barcelona)

Barcelona’s Irene Paredes has enjoyed getting to see the success of the club since its professionalization in 2015.

That success includes winning the Primera Division and the Spanish cup multiple times. The club also claimed its first-ever UEFA Women’s Champions League trophy last year to complete the treble for the first time in its history.

Barcelona has had a record-breaking run in the lead up to this year’s WCL final, selling out games at Camp Nou and setting the world record for women’s soccer attendance not once but twice.

The club also completed a perfect 30-win season in the Primera Division.

“It’s been a really fast development,” said Paredes, referencing the fact that the club was only professionalized seven years ago. “But it’s just the consequence of a lot of work, a lot of people with a lot of enthusiasm and ideas working together. They really wanted a female football club doing great things.”

As for selling out Camp Nou, the defender said she and her teammates were in awe over the turnout.

“It was amazing, we couldn’t understand and believe it,” she said. “When they put the tickets on sale, we didn’t expect to have all of those sales in two days. We were wondering if all of the people would come, and of course they did and they’ve been screaming and helping us to win the game against Real Madrid.

“The second time against Wolfsburg, it was also a surprise because it was another new record. People could say that it’s lucky, that they gave a lot of tickets [away], but no, most of the people paid for tickets. They came to cheer us on and that’s because they want to support us.

“I hope the rest of the world is looking to us to try to do the same.”

This season marks the second time in Paredes’ career that she’s made a Champions League final. She played for Paris Saint-Germain when that club finished as runner-up in 2017.

She knows how difficult it is to make it to this point, and to play against a club like Olympique Lyonnais, which has won seven WCL titles – including a record-breaking run of five from 2016-2020.

“If we win that final, knowing the importance that Lyon has in Europe and the world, of course it would be amazing,” she said. “But it’s not about winning [against] Lyon, it’s just about winning the second time in a row.

“This last year has been a lot of work, a lot of good results. Of course we want to win and it would add strength to keep fighting to become the best team in the world. If not, our season has been amazing and the club wants more and we are working for that.

“We don’t want to be the new Lyon. We just want to be the new champions.”

The Champions League final will kick off at 1 p.m. ET Saturday on DAZN’s YouTube channel.