Barcelona discussed staging their women’s Champions
League semi-final last month at Camp Nou, according to
the club’s vice president Jordi Mestre.
Barcelona’s Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal
celebrates with Barcelona’s Argentinian forward
Lionel Messi (L) after scoring a goal during the
Spanish League football match between Barcelona
and Getafe at the Camp Nou Stadium in Barcelona
on May 12, 2019. (Photo by Josep LAGO / AFP)
Barca’s women will play in their first ever Champions
League final in Budapest on Saturday as they attempt to
spring a surprise on five-time champions Lyon.
This has been a season for change in women’s football,
after a European record crowd of 60,739 watched Barca
play Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano in March.
“It proved women’s football is here to stay,” Mestre told
AFP. “It’s not a passing fad.”
It continued a trend too for women’s teams playing in their
club’s main stadiums, with 48,121 also attending Athletic
Bilbao’s cup game against Atletico at San Mames in
Asked if Barca might ever fill their own Camp Nou, with a
capacity of just over 99,000, for a women’s fixture, Mestre
said: “Anything is possible and it’s true that we discussed
it before the semi-final against Bayern.
“There was talk of a match at Camp Nou but we must be
realistic, we have to keep our feet on the ground.
“We have to remember that even with our men’s reserve
team in the second division, we don’t fill the Mini Estadi
(Barcelona’s second, 15,000-seater stadium).
“Our men’s first team takes over so much, it puts
everything in its shadow, whether it be male or female
teams. The women’s team is coming out of this shadow
now and we are light-years away from what was happening
ten years ago.
“But to reach the level of the men’s team, there is a long
way to go — in terms of finances, titles, income, sponsors
and supporters — for now, it’s another world.”
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Barcelona were hoping to be the first club to have men’s
and women’s teams in a Champion League final in the
same season, only for Ernesto Valverde’s side to fall victims
to a stunning comeback by Liverpool last week.
The women’s team, who finished second in La Liga
Iberdrola behind champions Atletico, have been left flying
the flag and now it is them hoping to inflict a European
“Lyon is among the top three or four teams in Europe,”
Mestre said. “They are one of the best, if not the best,
“It’s true they have a much bigger budget than us, around
7 million euros to our 3.5 but we have already played
against them and we know they are a very solid team.
“Of course we can create a surprise, you only have to look
at the results in the men’s Champions League, with all the
favourites that have been knocked out. That’s the beauty of
sport and football in particular.”
Barcelona were a founding member of the inaugural
women’s Spanish League in 1988 and, having turned their
team professional in 2015, the club now plans to launch a
side in the National Women’s Soccer League in the United
“This is a project we still have in mind,” Mestre said.
“It is very interesting for us and will help women’s football
a lot because in the USA, the sport rivals men’s football.
“But first we have to set up a whole sports project, which
guarantees a better future for the team in the long-term.
We are working on it.”