Sam Kerr and Chelsea’s leap, Barcelona’s rival in the Champions League | Sports

Sam Kerr, during Chelsea training.
Sam Kerr, during Chelsea training.ANDREW BOYERS (Action Images via Reuters)

And this is competitive…(And this is competition…)”, Sam Kerr tweeted on May 18, 2019. It was not just any day for Spanish football: Barcelona was playing its first Champions League final against Olympique de Lyon. The problem was that the Catalans were taking a serious beating —0-4 in the first 30 minutes, the game ended 1-4— and the Australian did not miss the opportunity. It was her way of vindicating soccer in the United States (she played for the Chicago Red Stars), at that time viewed with suspicion from Europe due to an alleged lack of competitiveness in the league. It so happened that the Barça players did not forget Kerr’s publication. And, two years later, in the Gothenburg final, it was Barcelona that swept their Chelsea in 40 minutes (0-4). “Now he doesn’t tweet anymore”, they mocked in the Barça dressing room in Sweden.

Kerr arrived at Chelsea in 2020. Along with Pernille Harder, he was the great bet of the Stamford Bridge team, who wanted to make the leap in Europe. Barcelona had already joined the French and German teams in the fight for domination of women’s football. It happened, however, that when Barça and Chelsea met in the 2021 final, the English could not say a peep. “All teams evolve, we have gained experience. We are better than two years ago, ”said Emma Hayes, Chelsea coach. “They have been competing at the highest level for three years,” Jonatan Giráldez intervened. And he added: “They have strengthened very well.”

Chelsea have a higher budget than Barcelona. The English invest close to 12 million in their first women’s team, for the nine that the Catalan entity spends. “The salary mass of the teams are similar. They perhaps have more unbalanced salaries. Some earn a lot and others not so much. Ours are more even. The difference is that they spend more money on trips”, explains a Barcelona manager.

Injuries, however, have undermined Chelsea, who eliminated multi-time champions Olympique Lyon in the quarterfinals. Kirby, Buchanan and Bright will miss the match against Barcelona. The good news for Hayes is the return of Pernille Harder. “This list”, pointed out the coach of the English team about the Danish, the most expensive soccer player in history (350,000 euros) until Barcelona signed the English Keira Walsh last summer (400,000). “Chelsea now has three moments of the game much clearer: start, recovery and transition,” Giráldez developed. And she concluded: “The Sam Kerr of now is much better than the one of two years ago.” She wants revenge on the Australian, dialectical, but also soccer. It will not be on Twitter but at her home, Stamford Bridge.

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