WOMEN'S CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Alexia Putellas says she feels “100%” ahead of Women’s Champions League final against Wolfsburg
The Ballon d’Or holder has been on a long road to recovery after an ACL injury last summer, but now she feels fit and ready to play.
The words we’ve all been waiting to hear were finally said. Ahead of the UEFA Women’s Champions League final, after months of training photos, rumours, press questions and more, Alexia Putellas is finally ready to play 90 minutes or more for FC Barcelona Femení.
The 2021 and 2022 Ballon d’Or winner was been on the road to recovery ever since she suffered an ACL injury on the eve of Spain’s Euro 2022 campaign. The midfielder twisted her knee awkwardly just days before the team began their journey to the quarter-finals, where they were knocked out by eventual winners, England.
Now, however, she is back. Just before Barcelona look to seal off a near-perfect campaign, they can finally count on the services of the best player in the world. In the league, Barça went almost an entire league campaign unbeaten, losing to Madrid CFF on the final day when heads were already perhaps thinking about the Eindhoven final.
Will Alexia play against Wolfsburg?
I think everything will be key”, she said in the pre-match press conference ahead of the final against Wolfsburg, “it’s a final and the details will make the difference, both in the opening minutes and at the end.” Having the best player in the world on the bench is a nice detail that manager Jonatan Giráldez has as an option.
Or it might not even be one he keeps on the bench, with the boss saying that “Alexia, the same as all of her teammates, can play whatever is needed, be it 30, 90 or 120 minutes”.
Alexia herself concurred, saying “I feel 100%. That’s the responsibility of every player and that is my current situation. How many minutes I play is up to the manager. We have to give everything to win.”
She also spoke about the game itself, saying that the final last year, which Barça lost to Lyon, “was also very even. The evolution has been positive these years, we are better and have more ways to play, more versatile”.
Barça aiming to use experience to seal another victory
Just as there are more ways to play for the players, there is more interest in the game, with thousands of fans making the 15-hour journey to The Netherlands from Spain’s north-east coast. “The first thing I want to do is thank the fans”, Alexia said, “we know the situation and the effort they make, above all when they come for so many hours on a bus and all the economic effort that brings with it. It changes things a lot when there are fans there to support you.”
To date, Barcelona’s biggest success was arguably their Champions League thrashing of Chelsea, who they beat in the final of 2021 and this year’s semi-final over two legs. Alexia was asked about how playing in the biggest fixtures can help the team: “One of the things I remember from the Chelsea game is that we already had the experience of playing a final. Now we have played in a few. The experience that playing them gives us could be key.”
Barcelona play Wolfsburg in the UEFA Champions League final in Eindhoven on Saturday 3 June, KO at 10a.m; you can follow the action live on en.as.com.