Failure; the must-have that nobody wants.

Chelsea women endured a soul-crushing 4-0 defeat to Barcelona on Sunday night. Four Barcelona goals before halftime ended any real hope for the Londoners. The first was a textbook example of a team that was really up for the contest against one trying to find their footing in a showpiece occasion.

Failure; the must-have that nobody wants.

Chelsea women endured a soul-crushing 4-0 defeat to Barcelona on Sunday night. Four Barcelona goals before halftime ended any real hope for the Londoners. The first was a textbook example of a team that was really up for the contest against one trying to find their footing in a showpiece occasion. Hayes' side cannot be accused of overconfidence or lack of preparation. It is known to all how well they are coached, how well set up, with the first-class facilities at Cobham, and how well their team is constructed. Despite their apparent advantages, they came unstuck against opponents who were clear favourites with the bookmakers and better placed to seal their maiden champions league crown despite being less fancied with English fans. Emma Hayes has said of the defeat.

"Being in this position helps because, as I said to the players, look at the scoreboard. That's got to be a motivating factor when they come back for pre-season because this will stay with them over the summer.
"I felt calm coming into the game, but I think some of the inexperience cost us. But they will grow and improve from that. They're all really proud of the shift they put in."

Unfortunately for the Blues, they ran into a Barcelona side with a critical quality on their side; they had faltered at this hurdle two years prior.

Failure is a terrible feeling; it requires you to rethink your direction, your value. It makes you reflect on every decision you made, makes you wish you had done things differently. That's it magic; it is such a distressing feeling, one you never want to have, that drives you never to experience it again. In sports, as in life, people harness this fear of losing more than they appreciate the sweet taste of victory. There are loads of examples, but a few special ones spring to mind.

Barcelona Femini

2019 Women's Champions League Final L 1-4 Lyon

2021 Women's Champions League Final W 4-0 Chelsea

Almost every single player that endured this crushing defeat were present on Sunday for their victory over Chelsea. Lluis Cortes' side were just another innocent bystander to the Lyon juggernaut that claimed their fourth consecutive Champions League trophy in 2019. Eerily similar to Sunday's affair, Barcelona were 4-0 down inside 30 mins only scoring their consolation goal in the 89th when all was said and done. Their goal scorer on the night, Nigerian striker Oshoala, said in the days leading up to the 2021 final.

"Now, we have the experience of how European football is and also how a top game like this is played. I think we're going to be better with our tactics this year, how we go out and play and everything."
"For us, it was good. We played in the final 2019, we lost and then we picked up corrections from there."
"Come May 16, against Chelsea; I don't think we're going to make the same mistakes again because we already learned from the past. We are a better team now than we were two years ago."

Clearly, the experience showed as the Catalan side tore into Chelsea from the off. Their goal after 36 seconds showed their eagerness to right the wrongs of two years prior. They refused to let up, effectively ending the game with Hansen's strike after 36 mins.

UEFA Women's Champions League Winners 2021

Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp

2016 League Cup Final L 1-1 (1-3 Pens) Manchester City

2016 Europa League Final L 1-3 Sevilla

2018 Champions League Final L 1-3 Real Madrid

2019 Premier League RU - Manchester City

2019 Champions League Final W 2-0 Tottenham

2019 European Super Cup W 2-2 (5-4 Pens) Chelsea

2019 World Club Championship W 1-0 Flamengo

2020 Premier League W

Jurgen Klopp's men could not bear to take the defeat of another final. The narrative has changed since Liverpool's trophy blitz in 2019-2020, but he was a serial 'bottler' until that point. The champions league final defeat to Madrid and the second-placed finish to Manchester City, where they amassed a staggering 97 points and lost one game, were particularly sore points for the team and Liverpool fans. Jordan Henderson said of the losses in previous years.

"All of those things you sort of learn from and it gives you even more ­hunger to put things right and improve."
"Every time we have faced that adversity, we have bounced back in a really good way, it was just a case of continuing to do that, and we knew the time would come where we'd manage to win something."
"Thankfully it came last year."

It was evident on the faces of every Liverpool player, especially Henderson, what that victory meant to them. Looking back, I feel like another defeat could have broken them, but finally claiming victory gave them the confidence and invincibility that led to their record-breaking Premier League campaign to end their 30-year top-flight drought.

UEFA Men's Champions League Winners 2019

Chicago Bulls

1988 Eastern Conference Semifinals L 1-4 Detroit Pistons

1989 Eastern Conference Finals L 2-4 Detroit Pistons

1990 Eastern Conference Finals L 3-4 Detroit Pistons

1991 NBA Finals W 4-1 LA Lakers

1992 NBA Finals W 4-2 Portland Trailblazers

1993 NBA Finals W 4-2 Phoenix Suns

Like with Klopp, now, Michael Jordan is known as a serial winner, but that was not the case after the Bulls fell to Isiah Thomas' Pistons for the third straight year in 1990. For three long years, the Bulls were unable to best their Eastern conference rivals in a seven-game series. The Pistons, who suffered their string of defeats to the Celtics before eventually triumphing, had the edge over the Bulls; even Jordan, with all his winning mentality, could not eclipse them. The Bulls finally beat the Detroit side in 1991, a game remembered for the Pistons refusal to congratulate their opponents after finally getting past them. Jordan and his team ran their newfound success to the finals, where they triumphed over Magic and Lakers. Repeating in 1992 and then three-peating in 1993.

Michael Jordan after first Championship in 1991

Rafael Nadal, Wimbledon

2006 Final L 0-6, 6-7, 7-6, 3-6 Roger Federer

2007 Final L 6-7, 6-4, 6-7, 6-2, 2-6 Roger Federer

2008 Final W 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 9-7 Roger Federer

Nadal was already a champion by the time he fell to Federer at Wimbledon in 2006. The 'King of Clay' had brushed the Swiss aside at Roland Garros only a few weeks earlier, but the grass at SW19 was a different story; Nadal humiliatingly lost the first set to love. Their rivalry, now the stuff of legend, included these three massive Wimbledon Final contests. After two defeats in 2006 and 2007, Nadal finally got his revenge in what many consider to be the greatest grand slam final of all time. After nearly five hours of combat, the Spaniard got the better of his opponent and claimed his first Wimbledon crown. Unsurprisingly, when Federer spoke after the match, he commented on his disappointment. Despite his previous five titles, the experience was so devastating that it spurred him to reclaim the trophy in 2009.

"Probably my hardest loss, by far; I mean it's not much harder than this right now,"
"I'm disappointed, and I'm crushed. He [Nadal] played a super match, and I'm sure it was a great match to watch and to play, but it's all over now. I need some time."

There are so many more examples of sports teams and individuals triumphing after the heartbreak of defeat. Whether we like it or not, so much about sport has nothing to do with the actual game. The difference in ability is minuscule; intangibles like confidence, concentration, desire, and ability to deal with pressure are where sides/individuals distinguish themselves. Chelsea are already extremely successful; they have recently defended their WSL crown. They can still finish this season with an insane haul of 4 trophies, but this bruising experience will do more for them than any of those victories. I have no doubt, as they promised Roman Abramovich on Sunday night, they'll be back in short order, but this time to claim all the marbles.