Sabrina Delannoy has been at Paris Saint-Germain since 2005, seven years before they turned professional. She recounts their journey from amateur status to the European final.
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Paris Saint-Germain playing in Thursday's UEFA Women's Champions League final has special meaning for Sabrina Delannoy, who has been at the club since graduating from the Clairefontaine academy in 2005 – seven years before Paris turned professional. As they prepare to tackle 1. FFC Frankfurt, the 28-year-old France defender explains to UEFA.com just what her team's achievement means.
"I see myself as what people call a 'club player'. This is my ninth year at Paris Saint-Germain so I'm the most senior player at the club alongside Laure Boulleau. It's important in a team that is still being built – like in the case of Paris, who are growing and incorporating highly experienced players that have won a lot, many of whom have come from abroad – for there to be players who know the club and love the shirt."
"It's true that this is a really important role, which I've had for a few years now, which requires me to reach out to the other players and listen to what they have to say. My role in a nutshell is to make sure that every player feels as good as possible so that they can be at the top of their game on the pitch."
Compared to 2005
"The club is unrecognisable, there's no doubt about that. When I signed my first contract at Paris Saint-Germain, the club's ambitions were completely different. There were very few international players – I think we had one or maybe none at all. Today the team is exclusively made up of internationals from the top footballing countries in the world.
Clearly everything has changed. We've been professional for the last three years and the conditions we play in couldn't be better. Before, PSG were an amateur club through and through and our target was pretty much mid-table, whereas now there are much bigger ambitions and everything has changed."
Reaching the final
"It is the culmination of all the hard work I've put in at the club over all these years. I experienced years that weren't so straightforward, when we were completely amateur and we had to combine playing with studying or working. The conditions in which we trained weren't easy because we trained at eight in the evening after a day's work, so it's true that fatigue begins to set in.
To have professional status now and to be able to enjoy the current conditions – and reach this final – is quite simply the greatest possible reward. Right now we just want to savour everything that's going on around us, to play in the final – we've got nothing to lose – and to make the most of the occasion and hopefully take home the cup."