A year after losing the final with Tyresö FF, Verónica Boquete is back for 1. FFC Frankfurt. She discusses her rise, Thursday's game and playing in the US.
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In the last couple of years, Verónica Boquete has emerged as one of the highest-profile players in women's football and to prove it she is in her second straight UEFA Women's Champions League final.
The Spain forward was in the Tyresö FF side beaten 4-3 in Lisbon by VfL Wolfsburg 12 months ago. After the Swedish club's demise, she had a short spell in the United States with Portland Thorns before joining 1. FFC Frankfurt, who take on Paris Saint-Germain in Berlin on Thursday.
Having spearheaded Spain's runs to the UEFA Women's EURO 2013 quarter-finals and a first FIFA Women's World Cup, the 28-year-old has had an autobiography published, made the shortlist for the 2013/14 UEFA Best Women's Player in Europe Award and is among five nominees for the first BBC Women's Football of the Year award. Boquete, a UEFA Women's Football Development ambassador, spoke to UEFA.com about her rise to prominence.
Getting into football ...
My father was and is a coach. My brother also used to play, so they were always playing with a ball. Since I started walking, I was doing the same at home, at the park, in the corridor, in the street, always with them. I fell in love with this sport.
My favourite player, unfortunately, has always had to be male because when I was growing up, I had no female role models in football. The first one was Ronald Koeman, because I played as a centre-back. Then the player who impressed me the most was Ronaldo during his time at Barcelona. In terms of women's football, my first main role model was Marta.
Favourite thing about playmaker position ...
Changing games, because there are moments when you things aren't going well and the team isn't playing well. I think that I have the ability to say: "I'm here, give me the ball, let's play, let's be confident." Changing the flow of a match is what satisfies me most.
Difference between 2014 Tyresö team and 2015 Frankfurt side ...
Last year's final is still in my head. It's deeply rooted. Even if I win this year I won't be able to get that monkey off my back because Tyresö were special and each team is different. Every final is different. Last year I was confident because we had a great team but this year we have more stability. During the final months at Tyresö, the whole situation was difficult, especially in financial terms.
We knew the team was going to be split up after the final and it was many players' last match. Here we only have to be focused on the final and the game in terms of our preparation. There are no other thoughts. The team isn't going to disappear. You aren't going to have to say goodbye to all your team-mates.
I think that makes me more confident and focused on the ball, the match and football. I hope to be able to perform well, that Frankfurt can put in a good performance and we come out as the best team in Europe.
Comparing American women's football to Europe ...
I think that the league in the US is very physical, but maybe it has the odd tactical and technical shortcoming. In Sweden, at Tyresö, I found the league very strong in every sense, physically, technically and tactically. And I think that's also the case here in Germany, on top of which it's even more competitive.
We're talking about the Bundesliga, where four teams are competing for everything: Wolfsburg, Bayern, Potsdam and Frankfurt. It is very difficult for one league to have four teams of such a high level. And the rest of the teams are also of a certain level; there are no big differences. That means that to me, at this moment, the German league is the best in the world.
On reaching a second straight final ...
It's a dream come true. If someone had said to me a few years ago that I'd play in a final, lose it and play in another one the following year. It's very difficult to play in a final, much more so play in two in consecutive years. It means I'm doing things well and progressing individually.
It also means that I made the right decision to choose Frankfurt because I've developed here as a player, football is giving me a second opportunity to lift this trophy and I hope to do just that this year.
On having vital league games in the midst of European run ...
Those sorts of games are like finals. Your preparation, the week and days in the build-up, the warm-up, the experience of arriving at the stadium, it's all very similar to a final.
You have the same pressure of having to win, of having a lot on the line, a trophy at stake, the Bundesliga, the German Cup ... That baggage, that experience from earlier in the season, should enable us to react the right way and to approach this final in the best way possible.
On being a role model for Spanish women's football ...
It helps a great deal. It's incredible, in the week since we qualified for the Champions League [final], and with the BBC [Women's Footballer of the Year] award nominees announced, all the Spanish media outlets have picked up on those two bits of news.
They've been on the news, in all the newspapers, every day I've had several interviews on the radio. It's fantastic. It's fantastic for me personally, obviously, but above all for our sport.
What we need most is visibility, for people to know that we're out there playing. For them to know that there's a Spanish national women's team and that we're going to be at the World Cup, that we're good enough to play in other leagues, that we're at a high level. And undoubtedly getting to play in a Champions League final: it doesn't get any bigger than that on the European stage.