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Hiya guys,

With the Champions League over and done with, that's it for club football until September, so I've written a little bit today about endings and beginnings.

Flora :)
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This is where it finishes

It’s the time of year when a lot of people in football have choices to make. Do I stay or do I go?

If you’re lucky, it's in your hands. Players that everyone wants a piece of hold all the power. But if you’re just sort of alright, your options are limited. You could think ‘I might as well just stick around’, or you could totally girlboss it, say ‘enough’ as yo remove yourself from a situation that doesn’t suit you.

This is what Rachel Daly did, and this is what Sarina Wiegman said about it: “I think it’s powerful that she said ‘okay, this is where it finishes for me now’.”
Whereas it’s clear that game after game sat mostly on England's bench didn’t suit Big Rach, it’s hard to see what Jonatan Giráldez doesn’t like about managing Barcelona. Bringing the Champions League trophy to Barça for the first time, then keeping it there the following year, Giráldez has made Barcelona the best club team in the world and, let’s face it, can claim a lot of the credit for Spain’s ascent to the best international side in the world, too.

What’s not to like? Coaching the best team in the world, living in Barcelona, winning every trophy going, basking daily in the glow of Keira Walsh’s angelic face… He’s giving all that up to go and manage in the NWSL. His upcoming tenure at Washington Spirit holds a fresh challenge, (presumably) loads more money, and “a change [that] could be very good for my family”, he said.

He’ll be joined there, according to the BBC, by Esme Morgan. She’s leaving Manchester City, the club she’s supported since she was a kid, because she’s bored of the bench, which won’t bring her any closer to her ambition of becoming “one of the world’s best”.

She expressed this wish in her farewell post on social media after City confirmed that subject to international clearance, Morgan is getting the hell outta there. Well, one of her two farewell posts.
In the first, she comprehensively expressed gratitude for everyone at the club from the coaches to the kit and kitchen teams. She thanked CityStudios for “enabling her to spread her wings, by which I suppose she means encouraging her to set up a TikTok account, before promising to join their team one day. Wow, she’s been fed, clothed, educated, trained and paid by this club all while laying the foundations for her post-footie career. I wonder what Jill Scott makes of it all.

In her second social media post, she addresses her “fellow blues" and reminds them that she’s “City ‘til she dies” in spite of her move.

One player who’s not ready to let go of her allegiance is Leah Williamson who has just signed an ominously vague ‘multiple year’ extension to her contract with her girlhood club Arsenal. She’s not scared of the big bad Eidevall, neither is she ready to take off those canon earrings. Every time I sign a new contract, I feel that love ignite all over again, she said.
Elsewhere in north London, Jessica Naz signed a fresh contract at Tottenham Hotspur to the sound of fans calling ‘one of our own’, in spite of the fact that it was indeed Spurs’ rivals who gave Naz her first Women’s Super League appearances in a one-season switch that had Naz quickly running back to the club whose academy raised her. Given her status as one of the country’s most promising young players — she is currently at St George’s Park as a ‘standby’ for Sarina Wiegman’s Lionesses — the 23-year-old’s commitment to remaining at Spurs is a sign of good health since the lass’s got options elsewhere.

Jess Carter is through assessing her options, too. On Monday, Carter shared on Instagram that seven years into her relationship with German goalkeeper and former Chelsea team-mate Ann-Katrin Berger, the pair are locked in for the long haul. Their mutual colleague, Blues midfielder Sophie Ingle, was on hand to provide the mandatory observation that “she really is a keeper”.
AKB has won four WSL titles, a Bundesliga, three FA Cups, two league cups, and has twice been listed in FIFA’s top three goalkeepers in the world. But she describes Carter as “my best trophy so far💕💍” which you might find tacky if you haven't also read that one day in 2017 AKB simply shot her shot with her friend, who didn't realise that an invitation to dinner was a romantic proposal. God bless.

As trophy wives go, you could do a lot worse than Jess Carter. She basically single-handedly took apart Barcelona in the first leg of Chelsea’s Champions League final, and was this week named by UEFA in their Champions League team of the season. What’s more, she’s about the most reliable defender Sarina Wiegman has just now. Phwoar.

It wasn’t a problem, the pair claimed in an interview with the Guardian, when England came up against Germany in the final of Euro 2022, because we are both really chilled people”.

Many happy returns to them, and best of luck to Millie Bright (and everyone else around her) since, after losing work wife Rachel Daly to international retirement, she is on the hunt for “other people to bug and annoy twenty-four seven”.

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