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This Sunday brings the Laureus World Sports Awards from Seville. FC Barcelona has four nominees in Alexia Putellas for 'Sportswoman of the Year', Barça Femeni for 'Team of the Year' and Pedri and Yulimar Rojas for 'Breakthrough of the Year'.
Alexia Putellas, an incredible year
The Barça captain has been one of the world's standout footballers in 2021. The Catalan midfielder won every possible team and individual award.
Established as one of the key cogs of a team that won a superb treble, Alexia has received awards from every major football institution, including the Ballon d’Or, FIFA's 'The Best', the UEFA Women's Player of the Year award, the Globe Soccer Award, and the Creu de Sant Jordi; earning an unprecedented number of individual football awards.
She will now be up against some of the world's leading sportswomen, such as the tennis player, Ashleigh Barty, the swimmer, Emma Mckeon, and the athlete, Allyson Felix, potentially transcending football and becoming 'World Sportswoman' of the year.
Pedri, a year of consolidation
Winner of the Kopa and Golden Boy trophies, the Barça midfielder had an outstanding 2021. In addition to the individual awards, there were further achievements with both FC Barcelona and the Spanish national team.
His first season with FC Barcelona in 2020/21 saw a Copa del Rey win in Seville. He was also included in the UEFA EURO 2020 Team of the Tournament and named as best young player after reaching the semi-final with Spain. He went on to win a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games too. His efforts earned him the Golden Boy award from the Italian newspaper, Tuttosport, and the Kopa trophy from the French magazine, France Football. He is the first footballer under 21 years old to win both these honours, and he was also nominated for the Golden Ball award.
The Canary Islander quickly became a key fixture of the Barça side in the 2020/21 season, featuring most with 52 appearances. This made him the second youngest player to ever reach 50 games for FC Barcelona, with only Bojan reaching the total earlier. If we add in his appearances for the national side, he completed the season having played the most games of any player with 73. Injuries restricted his appearances in the final part of the year, but 2021 undoubtedly represented Pedri's breakthrough year into the world of senior football.
All-conquering Barça women
Consistency and talent define the past year of football for Barça Women. Coached by both Lluís Cortes and Jonathan Giráldez, their technical and collective superiority in both Spain and Europe throughout 2021 has been plain to see.
Flying the flag for collective football and the quintessential representation of Barça and La Masia's identity, Barça Women secured four titles: Champions League, the Women's First Division title, the Copa de la Reina and the Spanish Super Cup. What's more, the team's statistics over the calendar year are clear evidence of their superiority and the type of football Barça played throughout 2021. They won 53 out of the 57 games played during the calendar year, with only two draws and two defeats. The goalscoring feats are also something to behold, having scored an out-of-this-world 256 goals in those 57 games, averaging four goals per game.
With this nomination for the Laureus Team of the Year, Barça Women are up against some of the best teams in the world, such as the China Olympic Diving team, who won seven gold medals out of eight at the Olympic Games, the Italy Men's Football team who won the European Championship, or the Argentina Men's Football team, including Messi, who won the Copa America after a 28 year wait.
Yulimar Rojas, historic gold
Yulimar Rojas won the gold medal in Tokyo in 2021, an even more historic medal because the Venezuelan became the first FC Barcelona female athlete to win a gold at the Olympic Games. She also joined Barcelona's list of Olympic winners, as she is now the twelfth to win a gold medal.
Both Yulimar Rojas and Pedri are up against the other nominees for the 'Breakthrough of the Year' award: Daniil Medvedev, Emma Raducanu, Ariarne Titmus and Neeraj Chopra.
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