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Martens eyes Barcelona Champions League double


AFP Barcelona
Barcelona forward Lieke Martens wants the club to make it a Champions League double by winning both the men's and women's tournaments this season as reward for the work they are doing in women's football.
Barca's female side take a 1-0 lead into their semi-final second leg at home to Bayern Munich on Sunday while the men's team begin their own bid to reach the final against Liverpool next week.
"It would be amazing for the club if both teams win the Champions League," Martens told AFP.
"I think that it's so great that a big club like Barcelona is putting so much into women's football, it's what we need. Women's football is getting bigger and bigger and Barcelona really get it."

In a World Cup year, women's football has enjoyed extra prominence in Spain this season after a record crowd of 60,739 turned out to watch Atletico Madrid play Barcelona in March, just over a month after 48,121 watched Athletic Bilbao play Atletico at San Mames.
The drive has been for women's teams to become more visible to supporters, a trend that would be enhanced by Barcelona winning the Champions League for the first time this season.
"It will be a tough game against Bayern, we all know that, but it's also a big opportunity," said Martens, whose side are also competing with Atletico for the Spanish title.
"I think we are in a good period now, we feel very confident, we've had good results in the last few months and the mood in the squad is great."

- Emulate Ronaldinho -


Lyon, who lead Chelsea in the other semi-final, are attempting to become European champions for a fourth year in a row, while taking their overall tally to six. Barca, like Bayern, are yet to reach a final.
"We have to stay focused, we can create a surprise," Martens said.
"I don't know when this journey is going to end but the priority is to play well and then we will see if we reach the final or not.
"We all know it's going to be a very tough game, that Bayern have a lot of qualities as well. It's going to be a tight game but we believe we have the quality to win."

Martens has cited Ronaldinho as one of her idols growing up and she will be hoping to emulate the Brazilian's international success this summer, as she tries to lead the Netherlands to World Cup glory.
The 26-year-old star of the Dutch side that won the European Championship title in 2017 has scored 11 goals in 23 appearances this season and feels she can still improve as she regains form and fitness.
"I feel fine now but at the start of the season I had a lot of injuries so I didn't feel 100 per cent," Martens added.
"It's good that I'm getting closer and closer to my best level. I still feel there are some parts of my game that I can do better but I'm always critical of myself. We have important games ahead so I have to keep this form going.

Disclaimer: No Business Standard Journalist was involved in creation of this content

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First Published: Apr 27 2019 | 10:00 AM IST

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