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Macario making the difference as Chelsea chase quadruple dream
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Mitchell Fretton
Catarina Macario is fit and thriving at Chelsea
Catarina Macario is fit and thriving at Chelsea

Catarina Macario has had a tough couple of years but is finally reaping the rewards as Chelsea chase the quadruple in Emma Hayes' final season.

The 24-year-old joined the Blues in the summer but was still recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament injury that kept her sidelined for over 600 days.

So far, the United States international has only been used from the bench but after scoring in both of her cameos, she is staking her claim for a spot in the starting XI.

Ahead of the crucial Women's Super League clash against Arsenal, we turn the spotlight on Chelsea's rising star.

Two-year wait

ACL injuries are becoming more common in professional football and the road to recovery can take anywhere between six months and two years.

Macario was a victim of incredibly bad luck, picking up her injury playing for Lyon on the final day of the season in 2021-22 — three days after the French side won the league.

She had netted 14 goals in 20 league appearances and was thriving at the top level, only to go on and miss several key fixtures for club and country.

But Chelsea knew the value of the Brazilian-born forward and took the gamble by signing her in 2023 as they looked to continue their dominance in England and challenge for the Champions League.

And with the quadruple still on the cards for Hayes and Co, Macario will now play a huge part in the remaining months of the campaign.

Tough times never last

Despite finally getting back onto the pitch, Macario will need to be patient as Hayes eases her back into action.

Ahead of the Arsenal clash, the boss said: "Of course I want her to play, the team want her to play, the fans want her to play but you risk everything going back to the beginning again.

"Psychologically, I think she's almost there. You just have to listen to the whole argument.

"You run the risk of doing too much, too quickly and we've spent such a long time getting Cat to this point that I'd hate to lose her because we're a tad impatient."

Fans will not have seen the best of Macario yet but those who have cast their eye on the 5ft 5in speedster will have been impressed.

Her impact in the recent wins over Leicester and Everton have been noticed and her pace, power and technique will certainly be needed against the Gunners.

All to play for

Catarina Macario is back with a vengeance for Chelsea
Catarina Macario is back with a vengeance for Chelsea

Although Macario is only returning for the final stretch of the season, there is still a lot on the line for the Blues and their No9.

Hayes' side sit top of the WSL with seven games to go and they are one step away from Wembley in the FA Cup after the returning forward bagged the winner against Everton in the quarter-finals.

On top of this, Chelsea remain in the Champions League and have a Conti Cup final against Arsenal pencilled in at the end of the month.

Macario has already earned 17 caps for her country and at 24, has a lot of football left to play in her career.

She is an established international with a proven goal record and is seeminglyclosing in on a spot in one of England's most prestigious line-ups.


Chelsea FC WomenWomen's Super League
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