In the semifinals of the Women’s Champions League, VfL Wolfsburg meet FC Barcelona on Friday (6:45 pm live on skysport.de). The Catalans are led by Alexia Putellas. But what makes Barça’s “Queen” so special?
Alexia Putellas is currently considered the best footballer in the world. With FC Barcelona she wins one title after another. They are also considered favorites in this season of the Champions League. The Spanish national team has not had much success so far, but the Spanish team with captain Putellas is one of the favorites for the first time at this year’s European Championship.
First visit to Camp Nou and first goal
Putellas was born in 1994 as the first of two daughters in a town about 20 km northeast of Barcelona. At the age of six she accompanied her father to Camp Nou for the first time to watch the derby against RCD Espanyol. No one knew then that it would be she who, 20 years later, would score the first goal from a woman in a competition match at the Camp Nou. And how could it be otherwise: the opponent was RCD Espanyol.
But Putella’s journey to the pinnacle of women’s football has not been easy. Although Spain is considered a football country, the opportunities for women and girls have always been modest. Therefore, Putellas had to leave the great FC Barcelona after just one season in her youth. There was simply no girls team in her age group. Her path initially led to youth rivals Espanyol, where she debuted for the first team at the age of 16. She won the Copa de la Reina with the team and quickly emerged as Spain’s most promising talent.
Return to FC Barcelona and blow of fate
In 2011 she transferred to league rivals UD Levante. The 17-year-old then ended her first season with Levante as the team’s top scorer with 15 goals in 34 games. A fatal year followed for the next talent. In the summer of 2012, she made the big transfer to her heart club FC Barcelona. Her father also died that summer. He was her biggest supporter and guide in her career. A heavy blow for the young footballer. Despite this, just two weeks after the death of her father, Putellas traveled to the World Cup with the Spanish U19 team and lost the final by a narrow margin to Sweden.
Pro football, but at what price?
A very challenging but also formative time followed for the Catalan. In addition to finding legs on the new team, supporting little sister and mother after the death of her father, Putellas also had to complete her studies. Because especially in Spain the prospects as a female footballer were by no means rosy and it was necessary to create a second source of income.
By 2021 at the latest, however, all efforts for Putellas had paid off. The Catalan led FC Barcelona to the Champions League triumph over Chelsea on 16 May. For the Barça women, this was the first CL title in the club’s history. The English finished with 4: 0. They were finally able to present their class in front of a large audience. Right in the middle: playmaker Putellas, who scored one goal herself and prepared another worth seeing.
Her 2021 season was crowned after the triple with Barça receiving the Golden Ball and the FIFA Player of the Year award at the FIFA The Best Awards. She dedicated the Golden Ball to her father with the words: “I hope you are proud of your daughter. Therefore this is for you too father”. In honor of her father, she still sometimes shows the sky when celebrating a goal. As happened recently with her goal in the second CL match against Real Madrid in front of the world record crowd at the Camp Nou.
Pacesetteri in the structure of Barcelona
Putellas is the heart of the FC Barcelona team. She started her career on the wing, now she leads Barça’s game from central midfield. Joins the offensive, is very dangerous even with her biceps and also helps in defense. In the current season, the 28-year-old has already scored 29 goals and prepared 18 in 35 competitive games.
Their style of play has been compared to that of Barça legend Andres Iniesta. Above all, their technical skills, passing accuracy, dribbling, but also their leadership skills are constantly visible. Putellas leads by example. By the time she was 23, she had already been named one of the team captains. Because even off the field, she is very similar to Iniesta. She is a calm person and very down to earth. Despite her extraordinary performances, she does not like to be the center of attention and therefore always prefers to emphasize the team collective.
Great gesture for the old companion
She wears the jersey number 14 in the Spanish national team, but for a special reason. It was previously worn by her old friend Virginia Torrecilla. After having to stop her career due to a brain tumor, Putellas took off the shirt. The pair have played together for Spain since they were young and Putellas did not want the number to be passed on to another player as he was. So until Torrecilla hopes to return to the national team in the future, Putellas will wear the 14th.
La Reina: the Spanish queen of football
Meanwhile, the world footballer is no longer known by her full name or, as usually happens in Spain, by her first name Alexia, but by the nickname “La Reina”. In German: queen. Not only fans and teammates use the title, but it has become very common for the 28-year-old in the Spanish media.
Inspiration of new generations
It is especially important for the world footballer to inspire young girls in her country, to excite them about football and to show that women in the country of football, Spain, can impress as much as men. But she has not only done this in Spain: she is being celebrated by women soccer fans all over the world.
Alexia Putellas: an idol, an inspiration, a pioneer.
More on the author Eileen Doeker
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