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Barcelona Coach Aims To Halt Chelsea's Champions League Dream

Women's Super League - Everton v Chelsea

Barcelona coach Jonatan Giráldez is gearing up to face Chelsea counterpart Emma Hayes in the upcoming Champions League semifinals, with the aim of thwarting Hayes' quest for her first Champions League title. Barcelona secured their spot in the final four for the sixth consecutive season by defeating Brann 3-1, setting up a rematch of last year's semifinal against English champions Chelsea.

Hayes, who will depart Chelsea at the end of the season to lead the United States women's national team, is determined to cap off her tenure at Chelsea with a Champions League triumph, a trophy that has eluded her since taking over in 2012.

Giráldez acknowledged Hayes' impressive legacy at Chelsea, noting the high standards she has set for the club over her more than 10-year tenure. Barcelona's objective is to prevent Hayes from achieving Champions League glory and to bring the trophy home.

Despite Hayes' success in winning six Women's Super Leagues and five FA Cups with Chelsea, her closest brush with Champions League victory was a 2021 final defeat against Barcelona. Barcelona also dashed Chelsea's hopes in last year's competition, defeating them 2-1 on aggregate in the semifinals before clinching the trophy for the second time in four years.

The upcoming semifinal tie is expected to be closely contested, with Chelsea enjoying home advantage at Stamford Bridge in the return leg. Giráldez acknowledged Chelsea's strength as a team and their investments in women's football, emphasizing the challenge they pose.

Both Barcelona and Chelsea are eyeing a quadruple this season, but potential changes loom on the horizon for both clubs. Giráldez is set to take the helm at Washington Spirit post-season, while key Barcelona players, including two-time Ballon d'Or winner Alexia Putellas, are nearing the end of their contracts.

Putellas, following Barcelona's victory over Brann, expressed her commitment to the club and her desire to continue her journey with Barcelona, dispelling recent speculations about her future.

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