Alexia Putellas: Finalist in focus

  • Alexia Putellas is vying to become The Best FIFA Women’s Player

  • We spotlight her 2020/21 with achievements, stats and quotes

  • The 27-year-old recently emulated Johan Cruyff and Lionel Messi

2020/21 achievements

  • Scored in the first-ever women’s El Clásico.

  • Became the first female to score in a competitive match at Camp Nou.

  • Helped Spain qualify for the UEFA Women’s EURO England 2022.

  • Hit 18 goals in 31 games, from midfield, to inspire Barcelona to a record-breaking season in the Primera Division. Barça seized 99 points from a possible 102 and finished with a +152 goal difference.

  • Provided a goal and a sumptuous assist as Barcelona beat Chelsea 4-0 in the biggest-ever victory in a single-leg UEFA Women’s Champions League final.

  • Named the competition’s Midfielder of the Season.

  • Bagged a brace as Barcelona sunk Levante 4-2 in the Copa de la Reina final to complete the treble.

  • Finished as the tournament’s leading markswoman and leading assister, and became the first player in history to win three Copa de la Reina final MVPs.

  • Named UEFA Women’s Player of the Year, becoming the first Spaniard to seize the accolade.

  • Helped Spain continue their exceptional run of victories without conceding goals, which now stands at 16 games.

  • Made The Best FIFA Women’s Player shortlist for the first time. Was then announced as one of the three finalists.

What they said about Putellas...

“I think she is an unbelievable player. She is so good on the ball. I think it makes people happy watching her because she has really good quality and is just a sick player. For me, she is just the best player.” Alisha Lehmann, Switzerland forward “Very few coaches in the world have a talent like Alexia. But the best thing is that she puts the team before herself. She’s a coach’s dream.” Lluis Cortes, coach who guided Barcelona to the treble “She is the total footballer. She scores goals, makes those final passes, is good defensively, reads games, sees spaces and knows how to make them. She can unlock matches in a thousand different ways. She has remarkable, innate talent, but she knows how to use that magic to benefit the team. She’s the best of the best in the world.” Natalia Arroyo, Real Sociedad coach

Stats

93

Putellas outranked her former Espanyol and current Barcelona team-mate Marta Torrejon (90 appearances) to become Spain’s most-capped player last year. The former Espanyol and Levante star now has 93 caps to her name.

61

The 27-year-old became the first Spaniard to win the Ballon d’Or in 61 years in December. Luis Suarez beat Ferenc Puskas, Uwe Seeler, Alfredo Di Stefano and Lev Yashin to the award in 1960.

26

The Mollet del Valles native scored 26 goals for Barcelona in 2020/21 – a record for any midfielder in Europe. Overall, she provided a combined 45 goals and assists in her club’s treble-winning campaign.

3

Three footballers have been bestowed with the prestigious Creu de Sant Jordi – a 1981-created honour for services to Catalonia: Johan Cruyff, Lionel Messi and Putellas. The latter was inaugurated alongside six-time NBA All-Star Pau Gasol last year.

1

Putellas finished first on The 100 Best Female Footballers in the World 2021, a list by the Guardian voted for by players, coaches and media members. She had come 85th in 2018, 62nd in 2019 and 23rd in 2020, showing her remarkable and relentless improvement.

Did you know?

  • Alexia began kicking a football about when she was three years old.

  • Putellas grew up supporting Barcelona and idolising Rivaldo, Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto’o and Andres Iniesta. Louisa Necib Cadamuro also become her heroine.

  • Her beloved father Jaume passed away just two weeks before the UEFA U-19 Championship began in 2012. Alexia courageously decided to play in it and captained Spain to the final, where they narrowly lost to a Sweden side including Magdalena Eriksson, Amanda Ilestedt, Hanna Glas, Fridolina Rolfo, Lina Hurtig and Elin Rubensson.

  • Putellas has authored two children’s football books: Alexia y las promesas del fútbol (Alexia and the football prospects) and Campamento Antibalones (The Anti-Football Camp).

What Putellas said…

“I hope you are proud of your daughter. This is for you daddy, wherever you are. How could he not be?” Putellas after winning the Ballon d’Or “I started to do some mental work to try and trick myself into believing I wasn’t injured. I told everyone around me, ‘Don’t ask about injuries because I don’t have one’. That’s what was in my head.” Putellas on how she put injury aside to play in the Champions League final in May “I believe that football is one way of managing to end many historical inequalities. I love when we are treated like football players, regardless of gender. Football belongs to everyone and it doesn’t matter about gender or origin. In the end, this is the most beautiful and important message.” Putellas on the power of football