Claudia Pina - The Rising Superstar of Barca Femeni
At the beginning I want to mention that if I'm being honest, writing an article about such a young player is a bit of a challenge for me. My previous articles are about players already experienced on the pitch, about players who have already won quite a lot of titles in their career. Meanwhile, Claudia Pina doesn't have a lush football career (yet), hence writing about her may be a bit more difficult. Nevertheless, she is already a player who shows great maturity and experience on the pitch. This may sound a bit paradoxical because she is only 18 years old, but her playing on the pitch is dripping with maturity. Claudia Pina is a great young talent of Spanish football and I think that many people aren't aware of this. I noticed Pina for the first time when she was still playing for Spain U17 team. It only took me a moment to realize that I have a material for a world-class player right in front of my eyes.
Let's start from the beginning - club career
Claudia Pina was formerly a futsal player, before being discovered by Espanyol's scouts. She joined their youth team in 2011 at the age of 11. She moved to Barcelona's youth team from Espanyol in 2013. In Barcelona she began to stand out. Because how else can you describe Claudia Pina's achievement. In her second season, Claudia Pina helped the team to win the youth league championship by scoring 100 goals in her 20 appearances. 100 goals, in 20 apps , in only one single season. After proving herself as a technically gifted player and a natural goalscorer she quickly progressed through the different ranks of the youth team. Her impressive achievement didn't go unnoticed, she was called up to the senior team's squad for pre-season. Pina made her first official appearance for the senior team in January 2018. Being only 16 years and 5 months old at the time, she set the record as the youngest player to have ever played for a senior Barca team in an official match.
Claudia Pina received her first call-up for the national U-16 team at the age of 14. In September 2016 she was invited for the first time to play for Spanish U-17 national team in a UEFA tournament in Příbram (Czech Republic) where she scored 5 goals including a hat-trick in her debut match. She later played her first official game for the Spanish U-17 national team in 2016 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Jordan. She scored a goal in her first appearance against hosts, Jordan. Spain ended third, Pina finished tournament with 2 goals on her account. Claudia Pina was part of the Spanish team during the 2017 UEFA Women’s Under-17 Championship held in Czech Republic. Spain finished the tournament as runner-ups, losing to Germany in the final after penalty shootouts. Pina scored 2 goals during this championships and was chosen to Team of the Tournament. On 2nd of October 2017 she scored eight times as Spain beat Montenegro 22-0 in a Women’s U17 EURO qualifier. At the end of 2017 her name was announced as the top UEFA national-team goal scoring player among both female and male players, scoring 16 goals during the year. In November 2018 during the 2018 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Uruguay she showed everyone what she can do. Spain didn’t have much trouble getting through the group stage. Two confidently won matches, 4: 0 against South Korea – Pina scored 2 goals and a 5: 0 victory against Canada – Pina with one goal. The Spanish drew only 1: 1 against Colombia, but 7 points gave them first place in the group and a certain promotion to the knockout stage. In the quarterfinals Spain played a match against very demanding North Korea team. In regular time the match ended with the result 1: 1, Claudia scored a goal for her team. Spain won the game after penalty shooutouts. In the semi-final Spain defeated New Zealand 2: 0, Pina scored one of the goals. In the final, Claudia Pina summarized the great tournament for her national team and for herself individually. She led Spain to victory by scoring both goals in a winning 2-1 final match against Mexico. Spain won the title of world champion. Pina scored 7 goals during the tournament, won a silver shoe and was chosen the best player in the tournament. And this leads us to an achievement that cannot be skipped. Pina’s goalscoring record at youth level for Spain’s women across age groups – 37 goals in 39 appearances. A star is born.
During 2019/2020 Reto Iberdrola season (the second level of league competition for Spanish women’s football) Claudia Pina started in 16 games for Barca Femeni B. She has scored 15 goals from 1392 minutes she has played. She has contributed 24.6% goals from the total 61 goals Barca Femeni B scored during the season. Although she doesn’t get too many minutes to play in the first team, so in the reserve team she is a key player and her impact on the team’s achievements is priceless. As you can clearly see, Claudia Pina scored almost a quarter of the number of goals the team scored. These numbers are respectable. Summarizing her performances in the first team, Pina has played 228 minutes across all competitions. – 65 mins in the Champions League, 20 mins in Queen’s Cup, 68 mins in Copa Catalunya and 75 minutes in Primera División.
It’s worth mentioning that Claudia Pina scored two goals in the friendly game, when Arsenal Women’s team faced Barcelona Femeni in pre-season. The game was played at Meadow Park – Arsenal home ground – on 14th of August 2019, Claudia Pina entered the pitch as a substitute and scored twice, one of these goals was a stunner.
The Spanish wonderkid
Claudia Pina is definitely a future of Spanish women’s football. Despite her young age, she is already a forward with great technique and dribbling ability. I guess we can call her a wonderkid. The Barcelona forward has composure and confidence to show her playing ability. She has an eye for goal – you can’t learn it, you’re just born with things like that. There is no doubt that Pina will mark her regular presence in the Barcelona’s first team. It’s a matter of when, rather than if. Time will tell. But you don’t have to convince me, because Claudia Pina has already convinced me to do so with the first touch of the ball from her during the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2018. She has a high sense of awareness on the pitch and she always search for free spaces on the pitch. For such a young age, she has an amazing ability to find herself in the penalty area – she’s a two footed striker with an impressive nose for goal. The ball is just looking for her every time. Such a skill is not obvious at her age. I will emphasize this because she is young and already has it which is very special. She is not such an experienced player because she is just at the beginning of her career, but she already has such skills. On the pitch, she is a very composed player, she has such inner peace and she doesn’t panic. Claudia Pina is not afraid to take responsibility on her shoulders and this once again proves her great maturity. Why do I talk about it and emphasize it all the time? Because young players are in the process of learning certain things and football behaviors, they’re not the veterans of football pitch yet. Youth players are just in that process of forming themselves as self-confident and aware players. And in Claudia Pina I noticed features such as these mentioned, already in 2018, during that FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Uruguay, a quick reminder – she was only 16 years old at that time. Let the confirmation of my words be her first goal in the final against Mexico during this tournament. She mastered the upper ball in the penalty area very precisely, quickly moved the ball to the left foot and hit it from the ground placing the ball in the back of the net. It seems nothing special, but for such things, with a match of this rank and in such pressure, you need to have confidence, you need to have steel nerves – she has it. Let’s take one more moment to talk about this tournament – 2018 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Championship – first match of group D, when Spain played against Republic of Korea. The first goal for Spain – Claudia Pina took an advantage of opponent players error and scored a goal, showing her pitch intelligence. No hesitation, just an eye for goal. Second goal – she got a ball in the penalty area from right wing, despite the outnumber of the Koreans in the penalty box, she took advantage of their mistake again – they left too much space for her – she hit the rocket right in the top right corner of the goal.
Youthful joy of playing football
But what is extremely important in the context of young players who are just entering the great world of football – the joy of playing football, the satisfaction of it. I think Claudia Pina knows something about it. I’m sure that whoever follows her performances has seen the goal she scored against Espanyol on January 2017. This goal trended across the Internet. Claudia Pina took the ball from the halfway line and dribbled through four players, then she made a powerful strike from the edge of the box. A manifestation of the indisputable football genius, but also the fact that football is not only about tactics, schemes, statistics, but moreover, football is a freedom in self-expression on the pitch. She just took the ball and was carried away by the moment when thanks to her confidence she found the way to the goal in a situation in which many would not even take risks and try. Pina has that ease, calm and above all she has this youthful fantasy and joy. It is pretty visible that she truly enjoys the game, she likes to have the ball next to her foot (this is probably a feature of all Spanish players), but at the same time she is also a very team player. Claudia Pina regularly performs in Barcelona Femení B team, which is it is the reserve team of FC Barcelona women. She plays as a number 10, which means she’s a playmaker or an attacking midfielder. But what is important to mention that for her national team, she plays mainly as number 9 or false 9. She’s very intelligent on the pitch. She is an offensive player and the fact that she can play as central forward or as central attacking midfielder, certainly works in her favor. This definitely makes her an universal and versatile player, and this is undoubtedly important in the context of her further football development. Her movements on the pitch are thoughtful and harmonious, it is delightful to see her constantly looking for free spaces on the pitch. Claudia position herself, receives the ball, passes it back, and immediately frees herself to show up in a position to create chances. She has the position awareness and the ability to quickly assess the situation. At such a young age, it really makes her unique.
The engine of the team
I have seen some of Pina’s matches in Barca Femeni B. This girl forms the engine of the team. She is so simple in her actions on the pitch, but at the same time so creative. In the match with CD Parquesol she also showed her versatility. In the 8th minute of the match she started the goal action of her team and in a few second later she finished it. She pulled away from her offensive position, dropped down to Barca’s half the pitch to get the ball. She received a pass from the defender, deceived the opponent with a body balance and freed herself from the opponent, with one pass she sped the team’s action and immediately ran after the action into the opponent’s penalty box. The ball got perfectly to where she was in the penalty area, Claudia Pina scored a goal, Claudia Pina, who started the action of her team and finished it.
Watching these matches, I also noticed a feature that the best football virtuosos have – assessing the situation before getting the ball. Pina, while expecting a pass, looks over her shoulder to assess the position of her opponents. She is a step ahead of the opponent because she knows exactly what to do with the ball before she even gets it.
Of course, it can be said that this is nothing special, but I will say it again, if she already has so good attributes on the pitch at such young age, then in a few years, when she gains experience, she will be the football maestro. We can only follow her development and wait until she reaches the top.
The future is bright
Claudia Pina is young, promising talent and I hope that no coach, or team that has or will have this girl beneath their wings in the future, will not waste her talent. At the age of 18 she is a very mature footballer, if she can develop as she should, there is no doubt that she will be a world -class player. Claudia Pina is the type of player whose actions on the pitch can be watched with great pleasure. Irreproachable technique, joy, sense of awareness and teamwork are what characterizes Claudia. Are we looking at the future captain of the first Barcelona team? I don’t know, probably yes, but what I do know for sure is that a star is being born right in front of our eyes. Let’s hope that thanks to hard work and continuous development, she will reach the top. I have been following the career of this girl for several years, I’m convinced that step by step, she will climb to the top of the mountain, from which she will watch the world alongside the other best football players in the world. She is the future of women’s football.
A note from the author
I'm extremely happy that I can publish my articles here, but I want to leave the name of my own blog here because this is where I always publish them first: usualunusualmotivation.sport.blog