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FC Barcelona Femení's Alexia Putellas travels with the squad to London - will she play against Chelsea?

The Ballon d’Or holder has travelled with the squad for the Women’s Champions League semi-final first leg.

Alexia Putellas entrena con balón siete meses después de su lesión.
FC Barcelona

FC Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas has returned to full training with the rest of her team after a long and drawn-out wait on the sidelines. The Ballon d’Or holder, winner of the award over the last two years, suffered an ACL tear on July 6 2022, and has not played since; she missed out on Spain’s Euro 2022 campaign, where they fell to eventual winners England.

Her side travel to London to take on Chelsea in the UEFA Women’s Champions League on Saturday 22 April at Stamford Bridge, where they will play the first leg of the semi-final before the return fixture the following Thursday. Despite Alexia being back to training with her teammates, such a long layoff has meant that she is yet to feature in the squad list of any of the club’s fixtures this season.

Alexia lifted the Champions League in 2021 after beating Chelsea 0-4 in the final.
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Alexia lifted the Champions League in 2021 after beating Chelsea 0-4 in the final.David LidstromGetty Images

Is Alexia going to return before the second leg?

And her wait will continue. Alexia has not been included in Jonatan Giráldez’s squad for the first leg of the tie on English soil. But that has not stopped the player from travelling, with Barça announcing that she is with the rest of the squad for the journey and will continue her recovery process as normal.

The player has pencilled in a return for the 27th of April - the second leg at Camp Nou - and recently tweeted a photo of her wearing her famous number 11 shirt, exactly 11 days before the game, leading many to believe that she will be fit to make her much anticipated return to football. Chelsea will be looking to exact revenge on the Catalan club after losing 0-4 in the 2021 final.

Will Alexia play in the 2023 Women’s World Cup?

The Spanish Women’s National Team has been shrouded in controversy over the past 9 months after 15 players wrote directly to the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), requesting not to be selected for international duty, citing emotional health and stress. Manager Jorge Vilda has come under criticism for his training methods and lack of preparation for certain games compared to the situations experienced by players at their respective clubs. Of the 15 players, 6 play for FC Barcelona: Alexia is not one of them.

The 29-year-old, due to her injury, did not take part in the email sent to the RFEF and as such, is only out of the squad as a result of her fitness. Manager Jorge Vilda has left the door open for her to return before the World Cup, saying that they will speak once she is declared fit to play.

Senior player Irene Paredes has returned to the squad along with Jenni Hermoso after the two took time out of the team in the aftermath of the situation.