Jess Fishlock fulfilled another career ambition on Saturday as she lifted the UEFA Women's Champions League trophy, and with it joined an elite list of Welsh players who have become European champions.
Currently playing on-loan at dominant French champions Lyon, Fishlock was named in the starting line-up for the UWCL final against FC Barcelona in Budapest, and her side stormed into an early convincing lead as a goal from Dzsenifer Marozsan in the opening exchanges was followed by a hat-trick from Ada Hegerberg inside 30 minutes. Asisat Oshoala scored a late consolation for Barcelona in the 4-1 win.
Fishlock, 32, has claimed titles across the world during the course of her impressive club career, and remains the most-capped player in national team history. Since becoming a professional player as a teenager, Fishlock has played club football in the Netherlands, England, Australia, Scotland, the United States, Germany and France.
During her loan spell at German side FFC Frankfurt in 2015, she featured in the early rounds of the UWCL and was awarded a winners' medal, despite returning to parent club Seattle Reign FC prior to the final.
She became the first Welsh international to make a century of appearances against Northern Ireland back in 2017, and remains an integral part of the national team ahead of the UEFA Women's EURO 2021 qualifiers that start later this year.
Wales manager Jayne Ludlow is the only other Welsh player to lift the trophy, achieving success with Arsenal back in 2007.
Meanwhile, men's national team manager Ryan Giggs, Gareth Bale, Ian Rush and Joey Jones have all won the UEFA Champions League, with Tottenham Hotspur's Ben Davies and Liverpool's Ben Woodburn hoping to add their name to the list when the two sides meet in Madrid next month.
Last year, Fishlok was awarded the MBE for her services to football and the LGBT community. “It really hits me close to my heart,” said Fishlock at the time. “People have such a hard time within themselves let alone society so it’s important that everyone is ok with who they are, and they feel safe with who they are. Since I’ve got to that point I’ve been the best version of myself and I want others to feel the same.”
Fishlock is a high-profile figure in the women's game and is a huge inspiration to her international team-mates and the young players that are emerging through the pathway system.
Her latest success is testament to her determination and desire to achieve as much as possible in her professional career, and there are few players who deserve success as much as Fishlock for her commitment and the sacrifices she has made along the way.