Vicky Losada lives and breathes Barcelona and is one game away from winning the biggest prize with his childhood club when they face Chelsea in the Champions League final on Sunday. Losada joined Barcelona at 14 and started in the Premier League two years later, his 14 years at the club punctuated by spells at Espanyol, Western New York Flash and Arsenal. She could “talk for hours, days” about the changes she’s seen at the club, but the bottom line is constant improvement. “We haven’t wasted a year; we never took that step back. I think it is very important.
This season everything has clicked, Barcelona have the balance between new players and academy products and play a style of football synonymous with the club. They clinched the league title last Sunday with five games to lose: they played 26 games, won 26, scored 128 goals, conceded five.
“Every player on my team is a winner,” says Losada. “In every training session there is a fight because nobody wants to lose. These things are the results we are getting this year. “
Having said that, it may sound strange but Barcelona were disappointed when Paris Saint-Germain knocked out the starting Lyon from the competition in the quarter-finals. “We really wanted to play in Lyon because for the players who were there in 2019 it was very painful and we learned from it,” explains the midfielder. “You are made of the experiences that you have in your career. We are more ready, if it happens in the first few minutes we are ready to control the game. “
Losada is referring to the 2019 final when Norwegian striker Ada Hegerberg scored a 16-minute treble to knock out the Catalan club, who would lose their first final 4-1. It’s a testament to the rapid growth in Barcelona, and Spain in general, that now they seem ready – and capable – to beat any team in Europe.
“We were a different team in 2019, the league was also a different league, we were a very young team. Lyon had a lot more experience in this kind of game than we do. We learned from that day. Right after the game at the airport we spoke with the manager and told him we wanted to train more, we wanted to spend more hours training, we wanted to do whatever was in our hands to be better. Now we are a completely different team and you can feel that in the environment you can feel it in the players, in the locker room. We are now ready for the final. “
It’s been 14 years since a team outside of Germany or France won the Champions League and, with Chelsea and Barcelona in the final, there will be a new name on the trophy. The impact of a victory, in both countries, would be enormous for the development of the game.
“It’s huge,” said the 30-year-old midfielder. “It’s the same when your country qualifies for a World Cup or the Euro, these massive opportunities are the ones that impact the game. Women’s football is growing but it is developing slowly after the pandemic, even more slowly.
“Now that the teams are professional half the league is professional and every time you make a big change like this more girls want to play and they start playing football even younger. I’m sure if we win the Champions League it will have a huge impact.
Losada is aware that this raises expectations but doesn’t see it as “extra pressure”, adding: “I think it’s a great responsibility that the team wants to have and we are ready. When you know you are ready and have worked and done your job every day, it’s a time to enjoy, it’s a time to believe in our style in our game and in our players.
It’s not just football that the Spain international loves. It is the club’s philosophy that has kept her connected to the rest of the world. Losada is involved in the Barça Foundation’s bullying prevention program which has worked with more than 160,000 children in Catalonia since 2017.
“I wanted to be a part of it,” she says. “As a footballer you are in a bubble and you don’t really realize what’s going on in your life. You don’t have time, you travel every three days and then sort of come back down to earth. I realized how important we can be and how much we can have a huge impact on society.
This link with the community is important. “We can never lose this. Those who have been here for many, many years are the ones who have the responsibility of telling new players how this club works, all the work that has been done over many years.
Now they have the opportunity to expand their strength and influence by taking the Barcelona women’s team to the next level. “It would be a dream come true. I want to win a Champions League. I won everything with this club. I started here when I was little. This is a huge opportunity and we must seize it.