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A great day for Alexia Putellas and Pau Gasol. The Barça Women captain and the former Barça basketball player decorated on Monday by the Catalan Government with one of the country's most prestigious awards: the Creu de Sant Jordi. Pau Gasol was unable to attend the event for personal reasons.
The distinction was created on 1981 to honour people who have served Catalonia in the defence of its identity. The award ceremony took place in the Teatre Municipal Cooperativa in the town of Barberà del Vallès, near Barcelona. Present at the event were Elena Fort, FC Barcelona vice president of the Institutional Area. Form the Generalitat de Catalunya (Catalan Goverment), president Pere Aragonès and Culture Secretary Natàlia Garriga were also in attendance.
Alexia: "I am really excited to be the first female footballer to receive the Creu de Sant Jordi'
The recent winner of the female Ballon d'Or prize spoke as she received her distinction: "I am very excited to be here, it is one of the greatest honours that a Catalan can receive. Thank you to the Generalitat for making it possible."
"I am really excited to be the first female footballer to receive the Creu de Sant Jordi. An award received by previous Barça legends such as Johan Cruyff and Leo Messi," continued Alexia. The Barça Women captain also thanked those women who paved the way in women's football: "Thanks to all the pioneers who started off the the road. To all female sportspersons, don't ever stop."
Finally, Alexia stressed the importance of the role of women: "The real triumph will be when we have 100% equality of opportunity in the world of sport and in the world in general."
Alexia and Pau Gasol's achievements
The year has been an impressive for Alexia Putellas. Winner of the treble with Barça Women in 202'/21 and winner of the Ballon d'Or as the best female player in the world, the first every FC Barcelona women's player to claim the prize.
It has also been a special year for Pau Gasol. After recovering from long term injury he returned to Barça 20 years after his departure. He helped the Barça basketball team to the ACB league trophy before taking part in his fifth Olympic Games, his final competition before announcing his retirement. Gasol was unable to attend the even and it was left to his parents, Marisa and Agustí, to accept the distinction on his behalf.
Epi, Cruyff, Barris and Messi also honoured
Alexia Putellas and Pau Gasol join a list of FC Barcelona sportspersons and figures that have been awarded the Creu de Sant Jordi; Juan Antonio San Epifanio ‘Epi’ (1996), Johan Cruyff (2006), Tomàs Barris (2018) and Leo Messi (2019).
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