If anyone asks who is the Captain of Barcelona? Most of the world knows its the Greatest Player of All-time, 'Leo'. But if they were asked to name the captain of Barca Femeni, they don't have an answer.
So its time to give her the recognition she deserves, one of the greatest players they have in their women's division, Alexia Putellas Segura.
Place of birth: Mollet del Vallès Date of birth: 04/02/1994 Weight: 67kg Height:173cm
Most of the fans of Barca Femeni will still remember the way she announced herself to the world:
Alexia's beautiful goal in the final of Copa de la Reina, the Spanish Women’s Cup, fully launched in-depth, attacking Alexia eliminates two opponents with devastating dribbling, before moving the keeper and scored into an empty net.'
Beginning of her career:
She started playing football with her friends (boys) in the schoolyard. A family friend played for Sabadell (her youth club) and her parents signed her up to play. Even though there were few girls playing soccer at school and in her town, she always played on girls’ teams and she didn’t want to play with the boys. She studied Business Management and Administration and stopped her studies because the stress was too great and negatively affecting her between school and football.
Twice a European U-17 champion with Spain (2010 and 2011), the gifted midfielder also boasts a bronze medal from the U-17 Women’s World Cup 2010 and a silver from the European U-19 Women’s Championship 2012 – as well as forcing her way into La Roja’s senior squad for their run to the quarter-finals of the Women’s EURO in 2013. In the same tournament, she was brought off the bench 17 minutes from the end of Spain's match against England and deep in added time she scored her first international account with a dramatic winner.
Putellas spent a year in Barcelona's youth academy and then spent four years in Espanyol's youth academy until her full first-team debut in 2010. She returned back to her home (Barca) in 2012. She was named the best Catalan player of the year 2014–2015 along with Gerard Pique.
Struggles and Father's death:
Alexia went through a hard time finding it difficult to get into the Starting X1 and going through her personal low when she lost her father. They were the times that helped her to become a better person and a leader. it was her father who was there supporting her all the time when she opted to become a professional footballer. This became a motivating factor and made her stronger and the leader she is now.
It's Alexia Era:
From being a Left-winger, she realized that she would improve the team when she plays as an attacking midfielder who can pull the strings and she transferred herself into more of a playmaker. Alexia is a very elegant and versatile player with a strong left foot with the knack of scoring goals. She has that exquisite left foot is just at her disposal and is never afraid to take players on, create in midfield or try her luck from distance.
Alexia's footwork reminds that of Xavi at times and she is the midfielder who is going to define an era and the playing style at Barca Women's. Possession, the speed of pass and she is making it simple. The intensity with which she is playing becomes vital and the rhythm of the game, the speed, and intensity of the play itself: quick, simple, constant. She is making every other player look better giving the right pass, continuity and always well positioned. What surprises me most is that whenever she receives the ball, she seems to know exactly where her teammates are on the pitch.
Her partnership in the midfield with Patri should send alarming bells to the opponents, It's like some things just sound better together. Salt and pepper, Bread and Butter and its Alexia and Patri. They are the engine of this Barcelona side, the heartbeat, the pulse and they are dictating the play. Barcelona with this pair as part of their midfield, it is so exciting to watch. And how they are doing it - It's the Barca style that relies on short, quick, progressive passing leading to goal scoring opportunities. And her extending the contract until 2022, I would be dare to say, 'Its Alexia's Era in Spanish Women's Football'.
And the Captain She is:
With Vicky Losada injured for the major part of the season, the captain's armband fell into Alexia's hands. And how did she fare? She did it with excellence by getting Barca to the top of the table 9 points ahead of the second-placed Atletico, winning the first-ever Spanish Super Cup and qualifying for the Quarter Finals of the Champions League by beating Juventus Women and Minsk on the way.
Key qualities for being a good captain are Caring, Courageous, and Consistent. Alexia ticks them perfectly. She is the face of the team and she embodies that in her play. She has that bit of fire in the belly, a willingness to fight for victory, and a warriors spirit to get the job done. Communication is key on the pitch, especially if things are going wrong and she keeps it right making sure the team doesn't lose the shape and remain focussed. This was clearly seen in the super cup final when she was marshaling Mapi Leon to get her concentration back even when they were leading 6-0 at the 44th minute. She made her 300th appearance for Barcelona against Huelva and was honored at Estadi Johan Cruyff for the milestone.
And to put it into context, she not only possesses every attribute required to be a great captain, with leadership, courage, and confidence, but she is also one of the most talented midfielders that Spain have produced with their women's division.
Being a Role Model:
Every young girl who is dreaming to become a football in Spain right now, have two idols Jennifer Hermoso or Alexia Putellas. Truly she is becoming the idol for a lot of young players. Barca B players like Jana Fernandez and Claudio Pina admired her a lot when they were in the youth system and they took a picture with her during the 2013-14 season. And it amazed Alexia when she rolled back and see that she has already spent 7 years with Barcelona and has these young prodigies playing along with her.
Even though she is shy, her name has sounded strongly on social networks recently. A young Barça fan received an Alexia t-shirt handmade by some friends as a birthday present. That came to her notice. She had a T-shirt at home which she decided to give it to him.
A Culer :
In October 2018, Alexia gave an interview to Goal.com in which she said it is a great shame that she might never get to play in a Clásico (“As a Culé there's nothing I'd enjoy better than to play against Madrid, experience El Clásico - and win it”). Having said that, she also felt that the Liga Iberdrola is doing well without Los Blancos: “Women's football doesn't need Real Madrid”.
She explained her reasons, “There's no need for Real Madrid to create a women's team, it's not necessary because the women's game in Spain is moving forward really well without them. I'm really happy to be participating in women's football at a moment when it is growing and evolving and experiencing its development.
Nothing makes me happier than seeing the club which I have running through my veins growing and becoming bigger”.
However, her dream came true when Barca faced CD Tacon (soon to be Real Madrid) in their first match of the 2019/2020 season when she scored their first goal in Estadio Cyruff which Barca went on to win with a resounding 9-1 scoreline.
Dream to Play in Camp Nou:
As part of the launch of Nike's challenge, Alexia Putellas put the precision of the Nike PhantomVNM to the ultimate test, by aiming to score at the Camp Nou from a distance of 100 meters from a platform over 20 meters high.
Speaking after the challenge and scoring her first-ever goal in the Camp Nou, Alexia said: “I’m so happy. I've always wanted to score a goal in this stadium and today I made it! At first, I thought it was impossible because it was 100 meters away and 20 meters high… It’s so difficult! It takes a lot of precision, but luckily, I've made it. When I saw the ball going in, we all here shouted and celebrated it. For a moment I imagined what it must be like to score a goal with 90,000 people and a full stadium.”
Words from Alexia's mother:
Eli, Alexia's mother, recounts an anecdote she remembers most of her early years as a footballer: "She was playing with Sabadell at the age of seven on clay fields. I remember that she used to play sandcastles while she waited on the bench and she got angry because she had to leave".
Now, 16 years later, Eli feels that all the effort of all those years has been worth: "With much work and effort is fulfilling her dreams. I am very proud of my daughter. " And you know mom, she is not done yet, captain of Barca and a fan favorite, she is here to stay in our heart as 'Alexia' forever.
With plenty of years behind, her dream to score in front of the fully packed Camp Nou is still on and let's hope she deserves the best.
For Barca Femeni fans, it's ain't Alexander The Great, its "Alexia The Great"
Vamos Alexia!! Forca Barca!!