The image of Alexia Putellas (Barcelona, 27 years old) sneaked into the Catalan capital when no one expected it. She was the first Barça player to appear on a poster on Gran Vía. “At first, you feel a bit ashamed. Then time passes and you think: ‘I was there’. I understand that there has to be that publicity, I agree to be me, but I don’t give it too much importance ”, reflects the captain of Barça, in the preview of the Champions League semi-final, this Sunday (15.00, BarçaTV and E3; Bayern and Chelsea play the another duel) in Paris against PSG, the fourth in the last five years. From anonymity to shop window, from amateurism to professionalism, Putellas is the symbol of Barça that seeks to make history in Europe.
Question. Is Barça female Alexia Putellas?
Answer. I know the weight I have in the dressing room and on the field. I am very comfortable with that responsibility, but I cannot say what is seen from the outside. I can say what I see from the inside: a group with a brutal mentality for elite football.
P. Does that explain their 24 wins in their 24 games played in La Liga, with 125 goals for and five against?
R. Something extraordinary is happening. It is not normal, even if it happens every weekend. Many factors have accumulated.
R. The most important thing is that today we are reaping what we have sown for years. All the work of the past has come to light. In addition, the bulk of the team is at an ideal moment, which enhances the group. There was the rumor that what we were doing in La Liga we couldn’t do in the Premier League and, nevertheless, we scored three against City (3-0 in the first leg of the quarter). But this team also lives on those things. Being told that they prefer Barça in the Champions semi-finals motivates us. And I think that has made many people and many partners feel reflected.
P. Does Barça have fun?
R. There are many styles, let everyone have fun seeing what they want. What we play is what brings us closer to winning. Then we can win, draw or lose, but we are convinced of what we have to do.
P. Where does women’s football come from and where does it go?
R. It comes from a place that unfortunately did not touch him, with ridicule of the soccer players. The pioneers had to put up with harsh comments. But they didn’t care and I understand them. When you are passionate about something, it does not matter what they tell you. And where is it going? I hope towards total professionalism. But I would like it to go natural. Let no one be surprised when a woman says she is a footballer.
P. Today it is not strange to see girls playing soccer in the parks.
R. Everything has changed so much. What’s more, I think that right now boys spend many hours playing video games and, at the current moment in society, women practice more sports. In the parks I see more girls than boys playing soccer.
P. Do boys like consoles more than girls?
R. I don’t know why. But like 30 years ago the label of girls with dolls and boys with the ball was hung. Now the trend seems to be boys with consoles and girls with sports.
P. Will that boost creativity in the game?
R. It is no longer a matter of creativity. It is a matter of passion. When I was little, I would finish a training session and if we were going to eat out with the family I was still behind the ball. My mother used to say to me: ‘Aren’t you tired?’ It was my passion. It’s my passion. If you take a boy or a girl to school and they only play soccer for that hour and a half, it may not be their passion. But they are children, if they don’t want to continue playing they shouldn’t. But it is becoming increasingly difficult to see children behind a ball while their parents are having a beer.