Last updated: 25 July 2022
4 min read

In Partnership with Rebel Girls

Alexia Putellas

Find out how Spanish playmaker Alexia Putellas went from street-side kickabouts to winning the prize for the best footballer in the world.

Alexia Putellas. Midfielder, Spanish. Born: 4 February, 1994

Alexia Putellas. Midfielder, Spanish. Born: 4 February, 1994

For Alexia football was a family tradition. When the family couldn’t go to the stadium, they piled into a restaurant in their neighbourhood in Barcelona to watch big games on TV. The first time little

Alexia joined in, she craned her neck trying to see the big screen over the crowd. Seeing her struggle, her dad plucked her off the ground and placed her on the pool table so she would have a better view. Alexia watched wide-eyed as players charged across the pitch, chasing after the ball and driving it towards their opponent’s goal. When Barcelona scored, everyone erupted in cheers. Back then, Alexia didn’t know all the rules or strategies, but she knew it was fast and fun!

“Football belongs to everyone”

Football Stories: Alexia Putellas

Alexia started playing football whenever and wherever she could. When her parents went to the plaza near their home for coffee, she would practise in the street, and then race back to them for a glass of water, sweaty and red-faced. Her parents knew it was time to sign her up for a proper club.

Alexia was the youngest there. She was playing with kids five years older than her. Sometimes she felt frustrated that her kicks weren’t as powerful as theirs, but it didn’t stop her from training as hard as she could.

Football Stories: Alexia Putellas

Alexia’s dedication paid off. She joined Barça just as she imagined as a little girl.

Not only that, but in 2021, Alexia became the first player to win the UEFA Women’s Player of the Year Award, the Ballon d’Or Féminin, and the Best FIFA Women’s Player all in the same year!

Sometimes when Alexia scores a goal, she raises two fingers to the sky in honour of her late father, who gave her the boost that set her career in motion.

Football Stories: Alexia Putellas

Dear Athletes,
I see a world where everyone in sport will respect each other, without judgement, a world where there are no insults. And for that world to be a reality, it needs to come from you.

It requires you to follow your passion. When I was a child, girls did not dream to become a pro footballer, but I still did it because football was what I loved doing.

The world needs you to do what you love most, and to do it aligned with your values. Because in sport you may win or you may lose, but the values and lessons you learn will stay with you forever.

And above all, make sure you enjoy the ride.

Un abrazo,
-Alexia Putellas

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Illustration by Marika Fanin

Originally published: 25 July 2022