Alexia Putillas, player of the Spanish club Barcelona, was awarded the Ballon d’Or, which is considered the most important award in football, thus becoming the best football player in the world. At the age of 27, she was the first Spanish footballer to win this award.
The jury awarded the player the 2020-2021 season, in which she won the treble with the Spanish League, the Queen’s Cup and the Champions League. Putilas played a key role in these victories, as a midfielder and one of the team’s top scorers. This year he was also named the best footballer in Europe, an award given by the European Football Association.
Alexia Putellas was born in Mollet del Vallès (Barcelona) on February 4, 1994. From a young age she knew that she wanted to become a footballer, and at only the age of seven she began competing with Sabadell, a small but historic club in suburban Barcelona. At that time, he participated in a team with 13-year-olds, which is why he watched most of the matches from the bench.
Thanks to her talent as a left-footed footballer, she made her debut at the age of 16 with RCD Espanyol, one of the main women’s football teams in La Liga. The following season, he played for Levante club, and finally, in 2012, he signed with FC Barcelona, a club in which he grew and established himself as a footballer.
Since she was young, Alexia dreamed of playing for Barcelona and in recent years she has been able to fulfill her dream. She was the first goal scorer for Johan Cruyff and Camp Nou in the modern era. In 2017, she wore the captain’s armband for the first time and today she is the first female captain of Barcelona.
As an international player, she was first selected at the age of 15 with the Spanish U-17 team, with whom she won the European U-17 Championship in 2010. In 2012 she was called up to play for the U-17 team. 19 teams and the following year debuted with the first team. In April of this year, she was appointed as captain of the Spanish national team.
Putilas realizes that she has become a sports reference for thousands of girls who want to play football, overcoming prejudices and stereotypes that, although less and less, must continue to be overcome day by day.
Most Wanted Prize
The Ballon d’Or is an award given by the French magazine since 1956 France Football In recognition of the best soccer players in each season. Although the award is open to the best players on the planet, the vast majority of winners are always players from the European leagues.
In the 1990s, FIFA began presenting its own trophy: the FIFA World Player, which also awarded the Best Footballers of the Year award. The two awards were combined between 2009 and 2016, and for seven years only one award has been awarded. Even disagreements between editors France Football The FIFA Executives led to two awards being handed out once again: the Ballon d’Or and the former FIFA World Player of the Year award.
The jury consists of about 200 journalists from various sports newspapers around the world. This year, the men’s Golden Ball award went to Argentine footballer Leo Messi, who after 17 years at FC Barcelona this season started his team with Paris Saint-Germain. It is the seventh cup for Messi, the most successful player.
As the Ballon d’Or winner, Putillas takes charge from Megan Rapinoe, the player for the American soccer team who took home the same award in 2019 after winning the FIFA World Cup. In 2020, the call for awards has been suspended by pandemic.
The Women’s Golden Ball was created in 2018, after decades of awards for male footballers. A good initiative that shows that there is still a long way to go to achieve gender equality in football.
Slow progress towards equality
Women’s football is growing more and more. Last year, international player signings grew by 30%, according to the latest Report from FIFA. This indicates that there is a growing interest in exporting talent to grow local teams and deliver quality women’s football.
But despite this growth, women’s football still lags behind its male counterparts in many respects.
The football industry around the world generates revenue of $500 billion every year. However, 49% of professional footballers do not receive a salary, and 87% will end their sports career before the age of 25 due to low or no pay, UN Women denounces.
Those who receive a salary find themselves in very different circumstances from their peers. Leo Messi earned 130 million euros in 2019, while first Ballon d’Or winner Ada Hegerberg won 400,000 euros in the same period: 325 times less.
Inequality is also reflected in pay for victories. For example, the prize money for winners of the Champions League for women and men ranges from 460 thousand euros for them to 82.44 million euros for them.
In the case of Spain, the Supreme Council of Sports approved the professionalization of the women’s soccer league in June 2021, with only men’s leagues considered professional so far. This move will allow women’s football to be equalized with men’s, for example, in organizational aspects or in the sale of audiovisual rights.
“Analyst. Web buff. Wannabe beer trailblazer. Certified music expert. Zombie lover. Explorer. Pop culture fanatic.”