'She has good qualities' - Chelsea star Lauren James praised by Barcelona's Aitana Bonmati ahead of Champions League match-up

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Lauren James Chelsea Women 2022-23
Chelsea star Lauren James has come in for praise from Barcelona's Aitana Bonmati ahead of the two meeting in the Champions League semi-finals.
  • Barca star Bonmati praises James
  • James enjoying outstanding season with Chelsea
  • Two clubs meet this weekend in UWCL semis

WHAT HAPPENED? Speaking to GOAL in an exclusive interview ahead of Saturday's UWCL semi-final first leg against Chelsea, Barca midfielder Bonmati name-checked James when talking about the Blues' attacking weapons.

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WHAT THEY SAID: When asked more about the England star after mentioning her, Bonmati said: "I say Lauren James but I can say Sam Kerr, I can say Guro Reiten, I can say Erin Cuthbert. They are offensive players that can make a difference.

"I didn't know [James] before because she didn't play a lot but now she's playing as a starter with Chelsea and she has a lot of power, she's strong and can drive well with the ball. She has good qualities and we know her like we know the other players on the team."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: James will look to show those qualities when the two meet on Saturday at Stamford Bridge, while Bonmati's Barca look to thwart her in pursuit of a result. The winner of the tie, which is a repeat of the 2021 UWCL final that the Catalans won, will face either Arsenal or Wolfsburg in June's final.

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Lauren James Chelsea 2022-23

Aitana Bonmati Barcelona Women 2022-23

Barcelona Women UWCL trophy 2020-21

WHAT NEXT? Kick-off at Stamford Bridge on Saturday is at 12:30pm BST, with the second leg to be played at Camp Nou on Thursday, May 27.