Women's football in Spain hit a new high point yesterday - one which I think definitively certifies its status. We saw a wonderful, exciting final with our Queen Letizia handing over the Cup to Sandra Ramajo, a Real Sociedad legend playing her last game for the txuri-urdin. Joining Queen Letizia in the directors’ box was Andalucia’s regional government president, the Mayor of Granada, the State Secretary of Sport, the president of the Spanish Football Federation... And in the stands, 17,550 spectators – paying fans I might add – there was no open-door policy this time as we have seen in Liga Iberdrola games which have drawn huge crowds. But best of all, we were treated to a wonderfully thrilling game of football.
How women's football in Spain has evolved
Last night, I couldn’t help but think about all of the people who were the driving force behind women’s football in Spain, some many years ago – people like Teresa Andreu, Agustín Mallol, Rafael Muga and married couple [Ramón] Carrasco and [María Carmen] Borrego – who back in 1968, founded Karbo Deportivo de la Coruña – one of Spain’s historic women’s teams... I thought about all of them and many others who have pushed for the women’s game. People who believed in women’s football forty years ago or more, and took it forward in difficult conditions, against all odds, providing an outlet for so many enthusiastic girls who were simply keen to play when no one believed in them. “Women’s football is neither football nor feminine”, was the embarrassingly unfortunate line featured in the 1971 film Las Ibéricas FC – fortunately, attitudes have changed since then.
Exciting, tense Copa de la Reina final
What we saw in Granada yesterday was an excellent game of football – a great final. Both teams played to a high level – Atlético took an early lead but Real Sociedad were back level just moments later following a goalkeeping mistake then were in front after a well-worked move capped off with a deep ball into the box, headed down then volleyed home by Nahikari García. With half an hour left to play, Atlético lay seige on the Real Sociedad goal, relentlessly attacking, opening up both wings and trying every possible route in a valiant attempt to get back on level terms. It was a lesson in attacking football which was matched by some brilliant defending by La Real. To summarize the season, Barcelona Feminí will play the Women’s Champions League final. But the domestic trophies have been claimed by Atlético and Real Sociedad. And that gives you a good idea about the level which women’s football has reached here in Spain.