Every footballer that features in a major final dreams of etching their name into folklore, whether that’s by scoring the winner or playing a key role in a club’s success.
For the Chelsea Women’s players featuring in the Champions League final today [v Barcelona, 8pm kick-off], that desire to be a hero will surely burn brighter than ever as the Blues look to make history by winning the elite competition of Women’s football for the first time in our history.
Leading the Chelsea charge is, of course, Emma Hayes. The Blues boss knows more than most what success looks like and, as she explains ahead of tonight’s final in Gothenburg, it requires an entire team to write themselves into the history books and that a huge collective effort will be needed against Barcelona this evening.
‘It’s a team effort,’ explained Emma, when interviewed by former Chelsea midfielder Karen Carney.
‘You don’t know who the matchwinner is going to be and it really does require the entire team to play their part.
‘One week it could be Pernille Harder popping up, or Sam Kerr or Fran Kirby. Then the next game we might be relying on the goalkeeper, or perhaps a Millie Bright, a Magda Eriksson or a Sophie Ingle to have that special moment.
‘You need a bit of lady luck on your side too, let’s not be ignorant to that fact. My team have been down to 10 players before, we’ve faced sides that have missed penalties and we had a spell against Bayern [in the semi-final] where we had to hang on a little bit.
‘So it really is a team effort and I believe the spine of our team is really strong. I always say to the players that in each training session they have to show me that they are ready to play.
‘Even if they’re not starting, I need them ready to play their part. You never know what is around the corner. A player could get injured in the warm-up and all of a sudden, I need someone else to step in and be that matchwinner for us.’
Tonight’s final kicks off at 8pm UK time (9pm CET) and will be streamed live on the website and the 5th Stand app. Geo-restrictions apply and cannot be viewed in the UK (where the game will be live on BT Sport).