Monday 17 January 2022, 22:00

Putellas: I never imagined I’d reach this level

  • Alexia Putellas crowned The Best FIFA Women’s Player

  • Barcelona star recognised for an outstanding year for both club and country

  • The Spain midfielder is already looking to the future – and 2023 in particular

Alexia Putellas spent most of last year making history and, by being named The Best FIFA Women’s Player, she has begun 2022 in the same manner.

The Barcelona playmaker, who inspired her club to their first UEFA Women’s Champions League title, became Spain’s most-capped player and was named UEFA Women’s Player of the Year over the past 12 months, has now become the first Spaniard to claim FIFA’s top award.

Putellas’ rise to the pinnacle of her profession has been hugely impressive, and she emerged as a popular and convincing winner of this latest honour. But despite all her achievements, and the hard work that has underpinned each of them, the Spain star admitted to being taken aback to see herself scaling such heights.

“I never imagined I’d reach this level,” she said. “But when you put in the work and people have faith in you, the results come. That’s how it has been for me. We won pretty much everything last season and hopefully we’ll do that again this year.

“I’m not sure 2021 has really sunk in for me yet, nor have the last few months really. But I’m just going to carry on and hopefully even more success will come.”

With Spain and Barcelona having hit new heights in 2021, and Jenni Hermoso - a team-mate with club and country - also among The Best FIFA Women’s Player finalists, a golden era of Spanish women’s football appears to be unfolding. For Putellas, it is simply the realisation of long-held potential.

“I’ve always said Spain has a lot of natural talent,” said Putellas. “It’s no coincidence that Barcelona had so much success last season, and now the team is being recognised in the individual awards too. All we needed was a project and a bit of time to reach the highest level.

“[Spanish players] had this hope that we could become the best players in the world and we’re doing a great job. We hope that this will not stop here and continue for many years to come.”

Alexia Putellas of Spain celebrates at the final whistle

Looking to the future proved to be a recurring theme with Putellas, who is well aware that, for all she has achieved over the past year, so much more remains to be played for. Chief among her ambitions is going the distance at a FIFA Women’s World Cup™, with next year’s finals in Australia and New Zealand glinting invitingly on the horizon.

“I think every World Cup is better than the one before it,” she enthused. “Everything is evolving and I’m sure that, within the next two, three or five years, women’s football will look totally different to how it does now.”