Competitive Champions League 'really good' for women's football, says Chelsea superstar Harder

By Sports Desk September 02, 2021

Pernille Harder is encouraged by the increasingly competitive nature of the Women's Champions League after Chelsea reached the final last season in a campaign where Lyon's run of titles was ended.

Lyon had been European champions in five successive seasons heading into 2020-21, pipping Harder's Wolfsburg in 2018 and 2020.

The Denmark superstar was named UEFA Women's Player of the Year on both occasions and secured a world-record move to Chelsea, where she again made the final.

The Blues came up short, but there was a new name on the trophy as Barcelona claimed their first title after Lyon were knocked out in the last eight.

Harder, speaking on behalf of Heineken, told Stats Perform: "Chelsea, as a team, we want to be one of the big teams in the world, and I think we still are. I think we can develop more from last year.

"Last year, we reached the final, so that's good, and we have the potential to be even better.

"But I also think the competition is really high. Now, there are so many good teams in Europe, so it will also be even more difficult to reach the final and to win the Champions League.

"I think it's good that it's not only one team that is just dominating the women's football.

"Lyon has been doing that for so many years, but I think now more teams are getting into the competition.

"Obviously, Lyon is still one of the big teams who will compete about the title, but it's really good that it has developed in this way with more teams being contenders for winning the title."

Team success is the priority for Harder, despite her individual recognition following Wolfsburg's final runs.

"The individual [awards] wasn't a goal for me – it was just the outcome," she said. "But the ultimate goals are to develop and to develop as a team but also to win titles.

"If that will make me win another individual award, that's just maybe a result on a good season. But that's not the main goal for me."

Heineken is a new sponsor for the Women's Champions League and Women's European Championship, which Harder sees as evidence of the sport's development.

"It's great that Heineken has chosen to go into women's football, to the Women's Champions League and the [Women's European] Championship that's coming in the next years," she said.

"It just shows the way women's football has developed, that a big brand like Heineken wants to go in and help to develop women's football even more.

"So, obviously, me as a football player, a women's football player, I'm really happy and pleased about that."
 

Watch Heineken's latest announcement video sharing three more reasons to cheer, having extended its already expansive footprint in motorsport and football with three exciting new partnerships – UEFA Women's Champions League, UEFA Women's European Championship and W Series.

Related items

  • Former Argentina forward Higuain confirms retirement at end of MLS season Former Argentina forward Higuain confirms retirement at end of MLS season

    Gonzalo Higuain will retire from professional football at the end of the 2022 MLS season, he announced on Monday.

    The veteran striker, a 75-cap former Argentina international who was a member of the squad that came second at the 2014 World Cup, will bring the curtain down on a glittering 17-year career.

    Higuain played over 100 games for each of Real Madrid, Napoli and Juventus, having began his playing days with River Plate, while he also had brief spells with Milan and Chelsea before joining Inter Miami.

    A six-time domestic league champion – with three LaLiga crowns and three Serie A triumphs – he signed for the MLS club in September 2020.

    Higuain has been in top form for Miami in the second half of this season, scoring 12 goals and assisting a further two in the past 14 games.

    Phil Neville's side are seventh in the Eastern Conference, clinging to the final playoff place with two games of the regular season remaining.

    Victories over Orlando City on Wednesday and CF Montreal on Sunday would extend Miami's season and Higuain's career.

  • Jamaica's Reggae Girlz to host Paraguay for two international friendlies November 10 and 13 Jamaica's Reggae Girlz to host Paraguay for two international friendlies November 10 and 13

    Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz are set to play Paraguay in two international friendlies next month as they continue preparations for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

  • Inzaghi: Inter must play with 'aggression and determination' against Barca Inzaghi: Inter must play with 'aggression and determination' against Barca

    Inter head coach Simone Inzaghi believes his team need to play with "aggression and determination" against Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday.

    Inzaghi is under fire after a run that has seen Inter lose four of their last six in all competitions, with a 2-1 home defeat to Roma at the weekend leaving the Nerazzurri ninth in Serie A, already eight points behind joint-leaders Napoli and Atalanta.

    And Tuesday's match will see them host a Barcelona side in red-hot form, top of LaLiga and yet to lose a league match this season under the leadership of former midfielder Xavi.

    In his pre-match press conference, Inzaghi outlined just how tough a task the game was going to be, while explaining how his team need to play at the San Siro if they are to get a result.

    "Tomorrow is a great opportunity, knowing that we meet a very strong team, probably one of the best in Europe," Inzaghi told reporters.

    "It is a complete, strong team with a lot of quality. They know how to do everything, they have pressing and ball recovery. It is a team that knows how to do everything in possession and non-possession.

    "Barcelona are a very strong team, complete in all departments. They have a lot of quality, plus they have [Robert] Lewandowski.

    "We will have to play a game of aggression and determination."

    Inzaghi also had positive news about striker Lautaro Martinez's availability for the fixture, adding: "This morning Lautaro made an exam where no injury was evident.

    "He finished the game [against Roma] fatigued, today he will do a partial training and we will see what his condition will be."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.