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Symbols of Champions, and change

Barcelona’s Caroline Graham Hansen receives a lift from her teammates / Twitter

So it came to pass, and then it went. On Saturday, May 25th, Barcelona Femeni proved the fan “theory of three” to be true, and took home their third European title. And all in style. Hosted in Bilbao, it seemed as if 50,827 in the crowd chanted one name in unison; Barça. From the word go, with momentum, mastery and magic in the air, Barcelona Femeni did not seem to struggle against eight-time UEFA Women’s Champions League champions Olympique Lyonnais (commonly known as Lyon or OL). Sealing off sweet victory 2-0 with a crucial final stroke of a golazo by captain Alexia Putellas in the 95th minute, which prompted an iconic goal celebration which has been viewed and shared millions of times online through social media platforms. Accomplishments such as these are never easy, but Barcelona Femeni just seem to have the perfect recipe.

Celebrations reverberated all throughout Estadio de San Mamés, Atletic Club Bilbao’s 53,000 seater home stadium. The distance from Barcelona to Bilbao is hardly half a day’s journey, and the support from the stands nearly produced an unofficial 12th woman on the field. With this final feast, Barcelona Femeni’s global dominance over the game of women’s football stands strong. And the game only has more room to grow. But before getting too sentimental, the girls were greeted upon arrival back to Barcelona by a beautiful balcony ceremony and parade in the Plaça Sant Jaume of Catalunya. With players walking down the street holding four heavy pieces of hardware in hand, the quadruple quest for the 2023/2024 season was complete. Bearing t-shirts with the phrase “Movem el món” (Moving the world), the world certainly was watching.

Alexia Putellas celebrates scoring against Lyon while Lucy Bronze holds her shirt in the air /

After basking in the glory and the gravity of such an emotional high and ethereal accomplishment, as in football, life changes. And as one chapter comes to a close, another chapter begins. As mentioned previously by Blaugranagram and announced at the beginning of 2024, head coach Jonatan Giráldez will pack his bags and pack his many trophies across the pond to Washington DC. There, Giráldez will assume head coach role of the Washington Spirit, one of fourteen teams in the American domestic highest tier NWSL. Barcelona Femeni’s new head coach is still not decided, as this upcoming summer will spill and spout with club movements. Similarly, it seems as if Catalan native and Spanish international Mariona Caldentey will not renew her contract, sources indicating a possible move to a team in England’s Barclays WSL. Former Culer Asisat Oshoala recieved a Champions League medal even though she left to San Francisco’s Bay FC months ago, as her name was part of the initial Champions League roster when the tournament started. Sadly, loyal goalkeeper of many years Sandra Paños effectively participated in her last European competition match ever for FC Barcelona as her departure from the club was also revealed earlier this year. This same squad that completed the quadruple during the 2023/24 season won’t ever be the same, and eventually things change. But, at least for a moment, the team that couldn’t be stopped was infinite.

Reaction to the final whistle being blown at San Mamés Stadium in Bilbao / The Guardian