Regularly appearing for two of the biggest entities in the world of football, Barcelona and Spanish international Alexia Putellas is helping lay the groundwork for her country to produce a lineup with world-class quality.
Since beginning play in 1980, the Spain women’s national team has yet to reach the heights of a FIFA World Cup knockout stage win, but the Spaniards did take a major step forward in the 2019 tournament after a disappointing World Cup debut in 2015.
Spain reached the Round of 16 in the 2019 World Cup, losing to the U.S. Women’s National Team in the knockout round in a 2-1 defeat that showed the Spanish team to be a worth adversary.
Spain showed more recently that its impressive World Cup was no fluke, looking sharp in the recent SheBelieves Cup. La Roja finished in second place, behind the USWNT, with Putellas being named MVP after scoring goals in victories against Japan and England.
"I’m going to be pretty frank. When it comes down to it, it’s not about saying ‘we have to reach such-and-such a stage’. The best thing for us is to compete and not set limits on what we can achieve,” Putellas told FIFA.com.
A technically gifted player comfortable playing as a left winger or attacking midfelder, Putellas has built her reputation playing in Spain’s Female Primera Division. She made her first appearances in 2010 after coming through the youth ranks at Espanyol at the age of 16.
Prior to joining Espanyol she was a product of the Barcelona youth academy. Growing up in Catalonia, there is no denying that the opportunity to re-join your hometown, and world-renowned footballing entity is special.
“Nothing makes me happier than seeing the club which I have running through my veins growing and becoming bigger.“
Now Barcelona’s captain, Putellas has helped lead the Catalans to four Spanish titles, four Copa de la Reina titles and a place in the 2019 Champions League final in her eight seasons at the club.
The decorated resume on the club side speaks for itself. It also shows Putellas is a product of the strides Spain has made in trying to match the perennial contender status of Spain’s men’s national team.
"We’ve gradually started to compete at international level, whereas in the past we struggled a bit more,” Putellas said. "The development of women’s football in Spain is remarkable.
“Now the fact that our U-17 and U-19 teams are reaching finals is starting to be regarded as normal,” Putellas said. “And those results will have a positive knock-on effect on the senior team in the future."
Spain’s showing at last year’s World Cup, and February’s SheBelieves Cup, make its clear the team is one of the better squads in the world, and Putellas’ continued excellence will spearhead that march towards the elite in the years to come.