Yet left side, Selma Bacha is the current best passer in the Champions League, with 8 offerings made this season in the queen event.
Trained at OL, the promising 21-year-old confided in
before the European final, this Saturday (7 p.m.) in Turin, against FC Barcelona, defending champion.
From her debut alongside the boys at FC Gerland, where she was nicknamed "Puyol", to her first selections for the French team, she looks back on her extremely rapid emergence.
Don't talk to him about age.
At 21, Selma Bacha intends to win the fourth Champions League of her career, this Saturday (7 p.m.) in Turin against FC Barcelona.
An already monstrous record for the left side of OL, who was established by Reynald Pedros at 17, in the 2018 European final against Wolfsburg (4-1 after extra time).
Under contract until 2025 with her training club, now indisputable in the 11 Lyonnais, best passer in this Champions League (8 offerings in 9 games) and international tricolor since last November, the pocket player (1.61 m) is the revelation of the season.
She confided in
before this long-awaited shock at Juventus Stadium.
What memories do you keep of your beginnings as a footballer, from 5 to 8 years old, at FC Gerland (Lyon 7th)?
Before switching to women's matches with OL in 2008, I played for three years with the boys at Gerland.
I was the only girl in the team, alongside players who had become pros like Georges Mikautadze (FC Metz, on loan this season to Seraing, Belgium) and Kais Ruiz-Atil (ex-midfielder for PSG and Barça).
It forged me mentally.
I was already a competitor and I never gave up.
I lived with boys all the time and I think that gave me “a man's character”.
As I was playing in central defense at the time, with my hair down and a headband, I was taken for former Barça player Carles Puyol (laughs).
Everyone nicknamed me "Puyol" on the pitch at FC Gerland.
Since their first European title in 2011, OL have had the finest squad in Europe and the players from the academy to have won there are rare (Majri, Cascarino).
When did it seem realistic to you to make a place for yourself one day in this team?
At the age of 15, when I started my sport studies, I realized that I really wanted to become a pro for my training club.
I was upgraded to U19 and coach Arnaud Favrelière switched me to the left side because he saw me becoming Amel Majri's replacement in this position in the first team.
In the end, I achieved my goal by joining the pro group from the age of 16, and gradually making my place there.
Do you consider yourself primarily as a warrior on the pitch or as an offensive and technical full-back?
I like to be present offensively as well as defensively.
But above all I like to defend, fight, duel… I'm not too technical yet (smile), except for crosses.
How do you manage to be everywhere on the pitch, between a decisive defensive comeback in the quarter-final second leg against Juventus and your 8 assists in this European campaign?
In training, I am with the first group at the level of the VMA (maximum aerobic speed).
Before, I didn't manage my efforts in the field, I was a bit “foolish”.
The further I go, the more I correct that to respond to high-intensity Champions League matches.
On these matches, I tell myself that I am above all a defender.
If I have to touch balls offensively, we will see.
It's not that I don't dare to climb too much, but I manage my efforts to avoid unnecessary races.
I feel that I have matured a lot in my game, that I have learned to channel myself, according to the highs and lows.
😎 @BachaSelma 😎
🅰️🅰️ Set up both goals 🆚 Paris in the semi-final second-leg 👏
🔝 Most assists (8) in the #UWCL so far this season 👌#QueensOfFootball |
— UEFA Women's Champions League (@UWCL) May 17, 2022
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Did you really expect to see OL bounce back like this after a season without a historic title in 2020-2021?
When I arrived in this team in 2017-2018, I won everything directly.
So there, after our white season, I had a bad vacation.
But we all learned from those moments and personally, I'm even stronger mentally today.
So of course OL still exist in Europe.
We are here this year for the reconquest.
Before FC Barcelona (European champion last year), there was OL.
Lyon has a history and it is now up to us to bring this trophy home, and thus show that we are still there.
Honestly, are you surprised by your individual level this season, which even earned you the title of player of the month in October and November in D1?
Yes, because I didn't think it would go so fast for me.
I took on responsibilities this season and I'm very proud of it.
Alongside Sonia Bompastor, I grew up and showed that you could count on me.
It's up to me to look for more assists for this final.
In this register, we particularly feel a special connection with Wendie Renard, like the second goal in the semi-final in Paris (1-2) …
The morning of this match against PSG, I went to see Wendie as soon as I woke up to tell her that I had dreamed of an assist that I gave her at the Parc des Princes.
And my dream came true (smile).
On the field, at a glance, I know where she wants the ball.
I always try to look for her because she is the best player on set pieces.
I saw that she had just resigned to the club (until 2026), so much the better, I could still break her head (laughs).
She is a big sister and an example for me.
I would like to follow her path and why not make my career in Lyon just like her.
This is my second family here.
Given your professional debut at OL in 2017, didn't you expect to be called up by Corinne Deacon long before this first cape in November 2021?
Last season, I was thinking about it.
But at the start of this season, it's not that I didn't really believe in it anymore, but still… And when I was called in for reinforcement after Sakina Karchaoui's injury, it was a childhood dream ( she now has 4 caps with Les Bleues).
Somehow, I prefer to be called in the last moments before an event like the Euro (in July in England).
The Lyon season was also marked by the birth of a child for your teammate Sara Björk Gunnarsdottir.
How did the group perceive the arrival of a baby of an active player, which is extremely rare in professional women's football?
It creates a good atmosphere and we say to ourselves that the club is open on this subject.
It's great because being a mom is a dream for everyone.
When we see Sara's baby, everyone is happy, and we want many more.
The next will be Amel Majri, and we will see who will be next (smile).
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Olympique Lyonnais (OL)
French women's team