After another outstanding season with FC Barcelona, Spain’s Alexia Putellas won the Ballon d’Or Feminin for the second consecutive year on Monday. The midfielder, who performed superbly in the last season in 2021 with 42 goals and 22 assists, achieved the extraordinary feat of becoming the first player in women’s soccer to win the award twice. She equaled the record of Alfredo Di Stefano, the Argentine-born player who won it two times for Spain.
A panel comprising international journalists voted largely in her favor which helped her beat out Sam Kerr and Beth Mead for the award. Putellas helped Barcelona win the Spanish League and reach the Champions League final. However, in the current season, she has been out of action due to an injury on the left knee and had to undergo knee surgery before the commencement of the Women’s European Championship.
Patellas was in brilliant form in 2021
Patellas was at her peak form during the first half of the year when she helped Barcelona achieve the triple crown of the league, cup, and Super Cup. She received more votes than Beth Mead of Arsenal, the player of the tournament for England and the top scorer. England became European Champions this summer at the UEFA Women’s Euro.
Patellas was in great form in the UEFA Women’s Champions League while leading the reigning champions to another final, which they lost to Olympique Lyonnais. However, Putellas became the tournament’s top scorer with eleven goals in ten matches, an amazing achievement for a midfielder. She scored in all the important matches – the quarter-final, semi-final, and final. In recognition of her extraordinary performance, the UEFA Technical Committee chose her as the player of the season for the tournament.
High off-the-field impact
Patellas off the field impact was great too. In Barcelona’s La Plaça d’En Joanic, there is a mural created by Tvboy, an Italian urban artist, who depicts her dressed as a Superwoman. At the same time, in March, her image was on display on the side of Camp Nou, the biggest stadium in Europe, before the FC Barcelona women’s team played two Champions League matches there in front of a world-record crowd of more than 91,000. Patellas scored in both matches. During the latter half of the year, Amazon Prime is about to release a documentary series on her in three parts entitled – ‘Alexia: Labor Omnia Vincit, which in English means Work Overcomes Everything.
Putellas hopes dashed
It seemed that Putellas was set to repeat her feat this summer by shining on the International stage during the UEFA Women’s Euro in England. Spain went into the tournament with a two-year unbeaten record, and Putellas became the joint top scorer in the Arnold, Clark Cup – warm-up tournament in February. In June, Putellas reached the incredible milestone of becoming the first woman player in the country to appear in 100 internationals. However, a freak knee- injury while training before the tournament sidelined her, and she had to undergo surgery that dashed her hopes of repeating her unique feat.