Barça star Alexia Putellas, first woman to retain her crown

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The Spanish Alexia Putellas, star of FC Barcelona was elected Women’s Golden Ball for the second consecutive year, Monday evening in Paris. She is the first woman to achieve this double.

Wounded but crowned. The aura of Alexia Putellas and her importance for FC Barcelona carried the emblematic Spanish midfielder to a second consecutive Ballon d’Or on Monday October 17 in Paris, becoming the first woman to achieve this double.

Already a supporter of Barça in her youth, the Catalan player (28) has become over the years an icon of her favorite club. She worked her way up to the top of world football, becoming the first player in history to win two Ballons d’Or since the women’s trophy was created in 2018.

The first year, Norwegian Ada Hegerberg (Lyon) won, followed in 2019 by American world champion Megan Rapinoe (Reign FC, now OL Reign). The 2020 edition had been canceled due to Covid-19, and Putellas won for the first time in 2021.

A complicated season

The Barcelonan’s 2021-2022 season will undoubtedly leave her with a bittersweet taste, with a bitter defeat in the C1 final against Lyon (3-1) and a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament of the left knee a few days before the kick. sending the Euro, this summer, while his “Roja” was one of the favorites.

“When I broke my knee I thought I had missed my chance but in the end the jury took into account that the period in question ran for the whole season and I only missed one month. , even though it was an important month,” Putellas told AFP after receiving the Ballon d’Or on Monday.

But “Alexia”, as it is written on the back of her jersey, has so revolutionized Spanish and European women’s football in recent seasons that even without a European Championship on the list, the jurors preferred her to her great rival, the English character Beth Mead, crowned at home in July.

Putellas crowned again, it is the fulfillment of a destiny entirely turned towards football. As a child, young Alexia began to play football in the college playground with the boys.

“My mother was tired of seeing me come home with bruises all over my legs, she had registered me in a club so that I would stop playing during recess”, she said in the summer of 2020.

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 just 12 years old. After a stint at Espanyol Barcelona, ​​then Levante, she returned home in July 2012, two months after losing her father.

Conquered by her “silky left foot”, Barça did not miss it: from her first season, she occupied a central role and won the championship and the Queen’s Cup, for which she was voted best player in the final.

When an international title?

Her good performances opened her the doors of the Spanish selection in 2013, which she had already played for 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.

An international title, that is what Putellas still lacks but it will be necessary to see what will be his status in the selection at the end of his convalescence: the player did not hesitate to support 15 other Spanish internationals who entered into rebellion against the coach. Jorge Vilda.

Be that as it may, Alexia Putellas already has the most beautiful trophies in women’s club football, with a historic Cup-Championship-Champions League treble won with Barça in 2021. And in 2021 as in 2022, the individual awards are are exploited. Alexia Putellas was named UEFA’s best player of the year two years in a row, before winning her two Ballons d’Or.

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Distinctions that may mark a tipping point for an entire country, where thousands of young players will now have a female figure to identify with.

“It will be a turning point for the whole country,” said the midfielder in an interview with Vogue Spain when he won his first Ballon d’Or.

A few months later, more than 90,000 spectators flocked to the Camp Nou, twice, to see Alexia Putellas and the Barcelona women assessed in the Champions League… Two historic attendance records for women’s football.

Still injured, “Alexia” will not return to the field before 2023. In the meantime, it is under the golds of the most prestigious awards that the queen distills her appearances.

With AFP

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