Lyon striker Catarina Macario says the form she has shown to help the French giants to the Women’s Champions League final is simply what she would “expect” of herself, as the United States women's national team star aims to win the competition for the first time.
The Brazil-born forward has gone up another level this campaign though, contributing 21 goals and six assists in all competitions to help OL reach the UWCL final for the tenth time.
What has Macario said?
Speaking to GOAL ahead of Saturday’s final against reigning champions Barcelona, Macario said: “Last season, it was different. It took some time just to transition from college to the professional level, to a new country, a new team and everything.
“When you compare the two, it's definitely better this season. But again, at the same time, I feel like this is what I expect of myself.
UWCL final stream links 👇
English - https://bit.ly/BarcelonaLyonEN
Spanish - https://bit.ly/BarcelonaLyonES
French - https://bit.ly/BarcelonaLyonFR
"I know this is what Lyon also expects of me, at least before they signed me. They wanted someone that can make an impact, so I'm glad that I've been able to play my part in that and just be myself and help the team.
“I think it really is just due to just me being here for a little bit over a year now. I have much better chemistry now with my team-mates and we've had Sonia [Bompastor, head coach] for a little bit over a year as well.
“That definitely helped a lot, the fact that I was actually able to be here from the start [of the season] and not just come in halfway through the season.
“I actually feel like I'm just more of a part of the team now. We've gone through pre-season together and so many different things.
"I definitely feel we're in this together, rather than just a random person showing up from college in the middle of the season!
“I had a little bit of a, I guess, buffer time. Now, at the start of this season, I was able to just be with everyone and just hit the ground running.
“I think it's just due to a variety of different factors but I definitely hope that can keep going into the final, into the end of the season and obviously into next year as well.”
‘You dream about winning the Champions League’
Macario and Lyon are on the brink of winning the league title and individual awards may follow for their No.13, with her form already seeing her placed among the nominees for the best player in the French top flight this season.
This weekend, she has the chance to become a European champion too, having been one of the stars of the UWCL all year.
“Now, I am just focused on my preparation ahead of it. I haven't really thought about it,” she said when asked if she has allowed herself to imagine what it would feel like to lift the trophy.
“Obviously, you dream about winning the Champions League, but I feel like that can't happen until you prepare.
"So, we are preparing well so that we can be successful on the day and it's really nice that so many players from Lyon have had the experience of what it's like to win the Champions League final and to win so many of them.
“It's very comforting to know that some of my team-mates have been there and have done that before. For me, because it's my first final, it's a big match!
“I know that it won't be easy, by any means, and so there are times when experience definitely helps and I'm really happy that I have some team-mates that I can count on to calm me down or just give me more confidence, no matter what's happening on the pitch.
“That's one of the things that I absolutely love about football, that I know that I'm not alone.
"I know that I have people that I can count on and that have my back, helping and supporting me when I step out on the pitch.”