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Paralluelo on visualising World Cup glory and playing for Barcelona

Salma Paralluelo spoke with FIFA as the countdown continues to the summer World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Salma Paralluelo spoke with FIFA as the countdown continues to the summer World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Salma Paralluelo appears to have no limits. At 19,she admits that she can already see herself lifting the World Cup this summer in Australia and New Zealand. The Blaugrana striker has seen her fledgling career speed up at an incredible pace.

As she points out, it is only a year ago when she was still deciding between athletics and football. From that sliding doors moment to being called up for the European Championships and a transfer to FC Barcelona. In an interview for FIFA, she explains more...

On the beginnings and choices

“I took up both sports when I was seven. To begin with it was just for fun. As I grew older, I began to realise that I was getting better and better. Athletics allowed me to be on my own, to be exposed, to train by myself and know that everything I was doing was for me alone. It involved making a bigger sacrifice, but that’s what it took. With football, I got a kick out of it. I enjoyed sharing something with the team, with my people.

“Years went by, things were going really well, I was very happy, I was getting good results, I saw no reason to change anything. I loved both sports. I always saw myself reaching for the top in both. That’s why I wanted to keep on doing them. Eventually, though, I knew I’d have to pick one. I picked football but I learned many values from athletics such as sacrifice, perseverance and discipline.”

On coming through the lower categories

“It’s something special. Take Eva Navarro and Jana [Fernandez], for example – we played the U-17 World Cup in Uruguay, we won it together. Being with them in the senior national team is very special because, apart from the fact that we get along very well, it’s nice to keep growing together after all these years. Growing and winning.”

On winning the Under-20 World Cup

“It was very special. It’s not something you get to experience very often. We lived many things there with the team, we had a great time. We trained and gave our all on the pitch. We realised that making it to the next rounds was possible, because we were hopeful and had become united on the pitch. Beating Japan in the final and taking the trophy home was the icing on the cake. That day was unique. When you score, you feel adrenaline and euphoria. You know that that goal may bring you closer to winning and, in that case, the [U-20 Women’s] World Cup.

“The most important thing I learned was to enjoy the moment – enjoy every day, every match, not think beyond every match, to live the experience, because as I said, those are unique experiences. You just have to live the moment.”

On playing with Barcelona

“It’s a privilege. Barcelona are a great team with the best players in the world. Training every day with them at such intensity and with such high demands makes you improve as a player every single day. It’s an honour and a privilege to train with them.”

On Spain and the 2023 World Cup

“Win the World Cup? Of course. You always have to visualise these things. [But] the first thing we have to do is focus on the group stage. We can’t look beyond that. We need to take it one game at a time and work towards our goal.

I feel very motivated. I want to keep fighting to accomplish the dreams we have had since we were little, which, little by little, are coming true. I want to keep dreaming bigger. I’m ambitious, I love competing, I love winning. I always give my all on the pitch, and I try to help the team as much as I can both in attack and defence.”

Stay on top of the build up to the 2023 World Cup in Australia & New Zealand with AS USA.


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