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Abily longs for Lyon London return

Published: Tuesday 22 January 2013, 10.37CET
Player of the match in the last two finals, Camille Abily recalls the joy of Olympique Lyonnais' 2011 win in London and says it is "fantastic" the 2013 decider is at Stamford Bridge.
by Julien Debove

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Published: Tuesday 22 January 2013, 10.37CET

Abily longs for Lyon London return

Player of the match in the last two finals, Camille Abily recalls the joy of Olympique Lyonnais' 2011 win in London and says it is "fantastic" the 2013 decider is at Stamford Bridge.

Camille Abily was named player of the match in the last two UEFA Women's Champions League finals – and she is keen to help Olympique Lyonnais achieve a hat-trick at Stamford Bridge on 23 May, in a match for which tickets go on sale today.

The France midfielder returned to Lyon in 2010 after a stint in the United States and has been at the heart of a side that some rate as the strongest female club team ever. In 2011 they claimed their first European crown, avenging the previous year's final loss against 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam 2-0 at London's Craven Cottage; 12 months later it was the same scoreline against 1. FFC Frankfurt at Munich's Olympiastadion.

Lyon are now on course for a fourth straight decider as FC Malmö await in March's quarter-finals and the 28-year-old Abily, fresh from signing a new contract, told about the chance of more glory in the English capital. This season the final is being played at Stamford Bridge. What does that represent for women's football?

Camille Abily: It's simply fantastic. To be able to play in a stadium like the one at Chelsea is wonderful. We know it will be a quality pitch, quality infrastructure. It is like a dream for us, even if in the last few years we have been used to playing in 'men's stadiums'. Chelsea won the last Champions League, so it is a real honour for women to be able to play the final in their stadium. Have you already visited the infrastructure or seen a game at Stamford Bridge? It is a stadium where ex-Lyon players have played: Michael Essien and Florent Malouda ...

Abily: I visited the stadium as a tourist when I was in London. I also know one of Chelsea's physios, who was at Clairefontaine when I was there. He helped me recover from my cruciate ligament surgery. I hope to see him again at Chelsea in May. You were player of the match in the last two UEFA Women's Champions League finals. How much are you inspired by big games?

Abily: I think it is in big games that the great players stand out. I try to perform as well as possible. During those two finals other players were very good too, but maybe because they are more defensive you see them less. I play in a more offensive position, we are an attacking side, but the whole team were very good in those two games. I was happy, it was a little bonus, but I was more interested in the main trophy. Going back to the final in Fulham two years ago: what are your memories, whether from the build-up to the game, the final iself, or when celebrating the title?

Abily: The joy at the end. It was the first win by a French women's team in the Champions League. The year before OL lost on penalties, so in 2011 we really wanted to win, and we had a bit of pressure because we didn't want to lose two finals in a row. That would have been a pity. I remember our joy at the end, the harmony in the whole group, the whole club – because there were a lot of people from the club who came. It was a great joy. You want to come back to London for this season's final. What makes the city so special for you?

Abily: First of all, England is a country where football is very popular, everybody talks about football. Even if women's football is not at the level of men's football, it has developed a lot recently. We saw at Fulham that there was a lot of passion. So I hope we will be at Stamford Bridge and that there will be as much passion as in Munich last year.

Last updated: 22/01/13 16.55CET

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