2021 will always be the year of Alexia Putellas. The Catalan who grew up at La Masia has become an example of talent and determination in a year in which FC Barcelona’s women’s team won all three majors trophies, and when Alexia collected individual accolades left, right and centre.
2021 began with a historic game against local rivals Espanyol in the Camp Nou, the first time a women’s game had been played there since a pioneering match exactly 50 years earlier. Played behind closed doors due to the pandemic on January 6, Barça won 5-0 and it was none other than Alexia Putellas who scored the first.
A year later, and the team are gearing up for their return to Camp Nou, this time with a crowd.
First ever treble
Barça beat Levante 4-2 to win the Copa de la Reina and complete an incredible treble, after already winning the league and the club’s first ever Women’s Champions League. Only Olympique Lyon (2012, 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2020), VfL Wolfsburg (2013), Arsenal (2007) and Frankfurt (2002 and 2008) had achieved the feat before.
Alexia played a huge role throughout. She had a goal and an assist in the Champions League final, scored a brace in the Copa de la Reina final and totalled 18 goals in the Liga Iberdrola.
Across all competitions, she had 42 goals and 32 assists in the calendar year. Simply outstanding.
Awards and more awards
And her achievements have not gone at all unnoticed. In August she was named UEFA Player of the Year. Later on, she became the first Catalan, male or female, to win the Ballon d’Or. And now she has added the FIFA The Best award to the list. UEFA, France Football, FIFA … It doesn’t matter who is voting, they all know who the best player last year was.
She also collected the Globe Soccer Award, and the top prizes from both Mundo Deportivo and Sport, as well as being named best player at the Gala of Catalan Football Stars.
Sant Jordi Cross
Alexia Putellas also won one of the highest distinctions in Catalonia, the Cross of Sant Jordi, which she used to issue a message in defence of women’s football, showing that it is not just on the pitch that she is able to exert a huge influence.
Up there with Messi
Putellas’ year is not too unlike 2009 and 2015 were for Leo Messi, when the Argentine won all six major trophies with his team, and on an individual level collected the Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player.
In 2015, Barça nearly won everything again but missed out on the Spanish Super Cup, and Messi again won the FIFA Ballon d’Or (the two awards were united at the time), UEFA Player of the Year (which hadn’t existed in 2009) and the Golden Shoe at the Copa America, although Argentina did not claim the title.