Putellas: Spain shouldn’t set limits on what we can achieve

www.fifa.com
www.fifa.com|23-May-2019 16:34

-Alexia Putellas will take part in her second FIFA Women’s World Cup
-She is one of Spain’s most important attack-minded players
-Putellas: "The goal is to win by playing and fighting hard"

'#JugarLucharYGanar' (#PlayFightWin) is a hashtag that emerged on Twitter in support of the Spanish women’s national team in the run-up to the final of the 2017 Algarve Cup. And the players took heed, defeating Canada to claim the senior Spanish side’s first major honour.

Since then, La Roja’s players, backroom staff and fans have latched on to the hashtag so enthusiastically that it developed into something of a motivational motto during Spain’s qualifying campaign for the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™.

"We all identify with those three verbs, and they all have equal importance," midfielder Alexia Putellas told FIFA.com. "If we play like we’re capable of playing, and add in our competitiveness and battling qualities, we’ll end up winning or we’ll come very close, at least. And that’s the goal: to win by playing and fighting hard just like we know how to."

Get to know Alexia Putellas
-25 years old, left-footed
-Position: central midfielder (she can also play as an attacking midfielder, winger and second striker)
-International since June 2013
-Played in six of Spain’s eight France 2019 qualifiers
-Second top goalscorer in Spain’s Women’s World Cup squad, behind Jenni Hermoso
-Strengths: ball skills, dribbling, link-up play and passing.

Alexia Putellas is, despite her relatively young age, a key player for both Spain and her club, FC Barcelona. Part of the national-team set-up since 2013, the Catalonia-born 25-year-old is one of many burgeoning stars who came to the fore at the last Women’s World Cup.

"We’ve gradually started to compete at international level, whereas in the past we struggled a bit more," said the Spain No11, who recently appeared in the final of the 2018/19 UEFA Women’s Champions League with Barcelona, and who previously represented her country in continental and global tournaments in all age categories (Editor’s note: she was a member of the U-17 team that earned Spain’s first-ever medal at a FIFA-run women’s tournament: a bronze, at Trinidad and Tobago 2010).

"The development of women’s football in Spain is remarkable," she continued. "Now the fact that our U-17 and U-19 teams are reaching finals is starting to be regarded as normal. And those results will have a positive knock-on effect on the senior team in the future."

What is your fondest memory of Spain’s first Women’s World Cup appearance?

"I have some really good memories, as it was the first time in our history we’d qualified. You’re so happy because you’re on that list and you know that you’ve made history by playing in Spain’s first-ever World Cup. In the end, my lasting memory is the sense that everyone was watching and following the event. You had a feeling that you were part of a global competition, and playing at the highest level."

Who will be your closest ally on the pitch in France?

"Spanish players can sometimes struggle to build an understanding. One would be Jenni [Hermoso], though. We know where we want the ball and we work well together. The other is Mapi [Leon], who tends to feed perfectly timed balls through to me when I find myself in a good position. You end up picking up on these little things after playing together for so long."

What is the objective for Spain in their second World Cup?

"I’m going to be pretty frank. When it comes down to it, it’s not about saying ‘we have to reach such-and-such a stage’. The best thing for us is to compete and not set limits on what we can achieve. It’s very difficult to be constantly competing at our maximum level, like we did at the Algarve Cup and Cyprus Cup [Editor’s note: Spain won both those tournaments, in 2017 and 2018 respectively]. We have to work towards getting to that level again, and I have no doubt we can do that.”