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Spain’s Alexia Putellas won the third women’s Ballon d’Or in history, capping a season in which she also won the Champions League with FC Barcelona. Portrait.
A supporter of FC Barcelona since childhood, Alexia Putellas, 27, has become over the years an icon of her favorite club, and has climbed the ranks to the Ballon d’Or, which she received on Monday, November 29, in Paris.
As far as she can remember, her first memory at Camp Nou dates back to January 6, 2000. At six years old, blaugrana jersey on his back (photos in support), Alexia Putellas had chosen to attend the derby of Barça against Espanyol Barcelona on Three Kings Day with the group of supporters from Mollet del Vallès, his hometown, north of Barcelona.
Twenty-one years later to the day, on January 6, in a derby won 5-0 against Espanyol Barcelona, it was she who became the first goalscorer of the modern era of Camp Nou. , fifty years after the “Pioneers” team who started women’s football in Barcelona.
The largest stadium in Europe (99,000 seats) being behind closed doors due to the pandemic, no one was able to attend this premiere at the stadium. No matter. The figure of Alexia Putellas now exceeds the framework of football, and that of Catalonia.
“Alexia”, as it is written on the back of her shirt, is not only one of the symbols of the evolution of women’s football in Spain and Europe. It is also one of the driving forces.
Recruited at only 12 years old
Like many of her contemporaries, Alexia Putellas began to play football in the schoolyard, with the boys. “My mother was fed up with seeing me come home with bruises in my legs, she had registered me in a club so that I would stop playing during recess,” she said in the summer of 2020 at a conference online organized by La Caixa.
She therefore took her first license in a club in a neighboring town, CE Sabadell. She was quickly spotted by Barça, who recruited her at only 12 years old. “There, the serious things began … but we still did not envisage at all being able to one day make a living from football,” she confided.
In 2010-2011, she acceded to the first team of Espanyol Barcelona, where she took her first steps as a professional. Espanyol lost the championship final against Rayo Vallecano, and the Queen’s Cup final against FC Barcelona. Transferred to Levante the following season, she did not win any title, the national cup being won by … her former team, Espanyol.
In July 2012, two months after losing her father, to whom she dedicated her trophy on Monday, Alexia Putellas returned to her favorite club, Barça, conquered by her “silky left foot”. From her first season, she played a central role: Barça won the championship and the Queen’s Cup, of which she was elected best player in the final.
A historic treble
Her good performances opened her doors in 2013 to the Spanish selection, which she had already led to gold among young people. She will participate in the Euros 2013 and 2017 and the Worlds 2015 and 2019 in France, where Spain will fall in the round of 16.
Since April, the Barça captain has exceeded the milestone of 150 goals scored under the colors of FC Barcelona, which she led to a historic Cup-Championship-Champions League treble last season. And in 2021, the individual awards started to rain. Alexia Putellas was named best player of the year by UEFA, and best midfielder in the 2020-2021 Champions League.
This Ballon d’Or reached the zenith of his career, but above all represents a tipping point for an entire country, thousands of young girls from which will now have a female figure to identify with.
“This will be a turning point for the whole country,” said the midfielder in an interview with Vogue Spain broadcast on Thursday. “The only Spaniard to have won it so far is Luis Suarez, in 1960. There have been others who have been close, like Xavi or Iniesta. But it will mark a breaking point in the history of our football “.