Regardless of whoever ends up winning the Fifa Women’s World Cup final tonight between Spain and England, it’s club FC Barcelona Femení who will be the real winners on the night.
The Spanish club are home to a starting XI of finals players across both squads as teammates turn rivals, competing for football’s highest honour.
Barcelona have earnt the title of being a top Spanish club on both the men’s and women’s sides. The Femení has been the Primera División for the last 15 seasons and are the current Uefa Champions League champions. Barcelona also had eight players named in the 2022 Fifa Fifpro Women’s World XI Squad.
The club, very aware of the world-class talent the host, posted to social media ahead of the match: “We keep on making history. XI of the blues in the final.”
La Roja will outnumber their opposition with Barca talent, Cata Coll, Irene Parades, Laia Codina, Ona Battle, Aitana Bonmati, Maria Perez, Alexia Putellas, Salma Paralluelo, and Mariona Caldentey, spread across every line of the park.
Keira Walsh and Lucy Bronze are the two Barcelona players for the Lionesses.
It’s not unexpected to have club-country cross-overs in major tournaments, but when $7 million in prize money is on the line, Spanish defender and co-captain Irene Parades said naturally all friendships are put to one side.
“We congratulated one another,” Parades told media. “We’re teammates and getting to the final is something to celebrate.
“But [tonight], we are rivals.”
England skipper Millie Bright is aware of the talented Spanish roster and their associations across the park.
“Obviously [we have] those personal connections - everyone’s kind of already aware of that.
But due to the significance of the occasion, Bright said England haven’t got too caught up with that fact, analysing Spain like any other opposition.
The midfield match-up is a highly anticipated aspect of the game tonight - seeing two-time Ballon d’Or winner, Putellas and tournament breakout star, Bonmati for Spain, go head-to-head with Walsh and Georgia Stanway of England.
The four are amongst some of the best in the world right now.
Lioness coach, Sarina Wiegman, who took the Netherlands to the 2019 World Cup final and won the 2022 Euros with England, doesn’t deny the technical aptitude of Spain.
“I think the Spanish team is in a good place, they’ve had a very good tournament so far and as always they want to play a possession game.
“They’re very dynamic, [and] want to go forward all the time - also in defence [they] want to go forward.”
But Wiegman was brazen in admitting to media her planning hasn’t differed drastically, saying Spain’s style hasn’t changed much since England beat them 2-1 in the 2022 European quarter-finals.
“I think that in moments they will challenge us, but we will challenge them too.”
The match kicks off at 10pm NZT with fans across the globe tuning into what’s promised to be the most competitive clash of the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup.
And whether England brings football home or Spain gets to write the history, FC Barcelona will stride into their new Primera División season starting in three weeks knowing that regardless, they hold the world’s best.