Keira Walsh happy as ‘special club' Barcelona land another Champions League
England midfielder Keira Walsh outlined her ambitions to stay at serial winners Barcelona for the long haul after they sealed a stunning 3-2 comeback against Wolfsburg to lift the Champions League trophy for the second time in three years.
Saturday’s sold-out Eindhoven showpiece was the first time Walsh was part of a title-winning side in the European competition, while club and country team-mate Lucy Bronze is now a four-time champion following a trio of victories with Lyon.
Walsh, 26, joined Liga F champions Barcelona on a three-season deal last September, less than two months after winning the Euros with England, and admitted she is loving the look of her trophy cabinet.
She told DAZN: “It’s been a pretty good year. The Euros, the Champions League, I think if someone was to tell me this was going to happen I wouldn’t believe them.
“To play for Barcelona, for these fans, it’s a special, special feeling,” adding of her future at the club: “Yeah. I think you want to be playing in these games and winning Champions Leagues and this is the club that does that.”
Walsh’s side beat Chelsea to reach their fourth final in five seasons, and had redemption on their minds after a crushing 3-1 loss to Lyon in Turin last year.
Despite being heavy favourites there was a sense of deja vu for Barca, who conceded their fastest-ever opener in the competition when Ewa Pajor netted on just two minutes and 57 seconds.
That brought back memories of Turin, where Barcelona fell behind after just six minutes and conceded twice more before the break.
This time it was just a two-goal deficit at the restart after Alexandra Popp headed home on 37 minutes, but the shock nonetheless forced Walsh and her team-mates to dig deep.
They did so in spectacular style through Patricia Guijarro, who netted twice in two minutes to ensure it was all square after just five minutes of the second period, and Fridolina Rolfo sealed the result with a 70th-minute winner.
Walsh said: “First half, not great for us. I think we kept the ball but didn’t score on our chances, so to score three goals in the second half was incredible.
“We just came in at half-time and Alexia [Putellas] said that if there’s any team that can overturn a two-nil it’s this team and that’s what we did. Patri Guijarro, she’s a special, special player and I think today it’s about time that people recognised that.
“For me the best player in the world.”
Bronze, meanwhile, made history by becoming the first English player to win the Women’s Champions League with two different clubs in her first game back since recovering from an April knee injury.
It was enough to require surgery, which some feared might see her added to the list of Lionesses set to miss the World Cup, but the defender played the full final and looks fit to start England’s opener against Haiti in exactly seven weeks.
Lionesses boss Sarina Wiegman was on trophy-presenting duty at Saturday’s final, which got off to a shaky start for Bronze after her error led to Wolfsburg’s opener.
Bronze, who played the full match, said: “Once there was two goals we shut up shop, we made it really difficult defensively, created loads of chances in attack.
“It was difficult for myself and Frido, we both haven’t played for five weeks, obviously I’ve had surgery – I’ve only trained a couple of times. It was definitely difficult but I’m so happy to have played my part for the team.”