Manchester City's European debut season moves up a notch when they welcome holders Lyon, and Carli Lloyd spoke to UEFA.com about the tie and their continental bow.
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She's scored both goals in an Olympic gold-medal match win and a hat-trick in the FIFA Women's World Cup final – now Carli Lloyd wants to triumph in the UEFA Women's Champions League.
FIFA player of the year for 2015 and 2016, Lloyd joined City on a short-term deal at the start of 2017 and made an immediate impact with the only goal of their quarter-final first-leg victory at Fortuna Hjørring. It will be tougher in the semi-finals as, on Saturday, City host holders Lyon and Lloyd's United States team-mate Alex Morgan in the first leg.
Lloyd spoke to UEFA.com about what the competition means to her and what she brings to City, while playing down the showdown with Morgan.
On the UEFA Women's Champions League ...
Growing up, I was watching the men's Champions League year after year and I thought to myself how cool an opportunity it would be for me to compete in the Champions League, where you have two legs – home and away – and all the energy and buzz around that. It's been fantastic, and now we've got a huge game this Saturday against Lyon and we're really looking forward to it.
I followed it as much as I could [from the US]. Obviously things have gotten better in terms of streaming and Twitter and being able to find results, but I remember watching the men and thinking: "This is such a great opportunity for women as well."
So it's just such a great opportunity, and it's something I haven't been able to play in. You play in World Cups, you play at the Olympics, which are some of the biggest stages you can play on, and to be able to play at club level in the Champions League is pretty amazing.
Women's soccer is at the forefront right now, there's a lot of talk about it – I've just seen that ESPN3 back home is going to be picking up the live stream for this weekend.
Would that have happened a year or two years ago? Probably not. So we're really seeing women's football at the forefront. It's doing really well, and for me to be able to be here, I wanted to be able to create a buzz.
On scoring the winner on her European debut ...
It was good. It's always good to get on the scoresheet, but most importantly, getting a team win is the most important thing. It's been good, I think the transition has been smooth because I've got such great people around me, from the club's standpoint: the players, the manager, the coaching staff.
Everyone's been really welcoming and it's made my transition a lot easier, so it's good. I just want to keep improving as a player, I want to help this team every single game I can, and as long as we're winning, that's all that matters.
On facing Lyon ...
I think I always approach everything as an underdog. I'm sure there's loads of people out there saying that Lyon are probably going to win, and that's fair enough to me. I'd rather be the underdog in the majority of situations. They've got a good squad, they've got great players.
But a great team is ultimately going to come away and reach the final. I think that that's what we have to stay focused on – focusing on us. It probably will be our biggest test, we have some younger players, we have some players who maybe have not experienced something as big as this.
That's where I can come in and help with that experience that I've had over the years. So this will probably be the biggest game this team has faced.
... and facing Alex Morgan
It'll be great.
Alex is a quality player, but again, it's not Carli v Alex, it's Carli v Carli's previous performance. I only worry about myself, I only worry about what I need to do. I worry about my role within the team, the game plan.
And just being there for my team-mates and bringing that mentality that I always bring, that tough mentality, getting into the attack in the final third ... But I don't think any great player ever worries about one person or the opposition or who they're playing.
I remember the World Cup final and I couldn't tell you who was on the pitch, because it was just me, the ball, my team-mates and that was that.
On what she brings to Manchester City ...
I'm a player who just wants to continue to evolve and be better. It's not about doing team training and finishing and just going home and being done. I don't ever switch off, I'm here at the facility for three meals a day, going home at six or seven o'clock, getting to bed and coming back and doing it all over again, doing extra stuff and doing shooting.
I think it's just a professionalism that I've brought into the club, and obviously I have loads of experience. Now I'm getting comfortable with everything: I know the deal, I'm familiar with all the players, I think they're becoming more and more familiar with me on the pitch.
So it's good, I feel like I'm just starting to get started, and it's the perfect timing with the Champions League coming up. I'm ready to go out there and battle.