2019/20 season can make a case for the best season in Barcelona Femení’s history. After a hiatus, the return to silverware comes with an admirable style and signature associated with their game and quality. The team’s growing success is due to their collective effects, though one player leads the way to glory, the club’s captain, Alexia Putellas.
Alexia Putellas is Barça’s vice-captain; due to Vicky Losada’s injury problems, she led the team throughout all competitions. She played 29 games: 2,355 minutes, 15 goals, 11 assists and contributed much more than statistics can measure. The 26-year-old midfielder reached individual and team milestones.
This article discusses her contribution to Barcelona Femení in 19/20 season, on and off the pitch.
Barça won the league after four seasons with 59 points: 19 wins, 2 draws, and 0 defeats. Alexia Putellas played in the midfield, usually as a LCM, but she switched positions in the center as holding, central, attacking, or defensive midfielder due to her experience and flexibility. Lluis Cortes describes her as the ‘remote controller’ of Barça; everything the team produces on the pitch is dictated through her, the common channel.
Alexia played 20 games, 19 starts, 10 goals and 8 assists. She has the third-highest G/A contribution for Barca, third highest in the league overall, and the highest for any midfielder. According to Emporio do FF’s data, Alexia made 63 decisive passes, the highest in the league. She also created 34 chances, the highest.
Super Cup 2020
Barcelona Femení won the Super Cup with an astonishing 10-1 victory over Real Sociedad in the final. Alexia, with 2 goals and 2 assists, had an incredible game. However, the game to discuss is the semi-final against Atletico Madrid, 3-2. Alexia had no G/A contribution though it goes down as one of her season’s best performances. The captain’s balls from the midfield were served on platters towards the flanks, resulting in 2/3 goals. The proper Barça way, the build starts from the midfield, and it is pushed towards the wingers to attack.
Barça’s UWCL journey came to an end after a defeat to Wolfsburg in the semi-final, 1-0. Once again, Alexia continued her successful run at the biggest stage in football. However, it is worth noting that this was Barça’s most complicated challenge, and Alexia rose to the occasion.
Barcelona Femení faced a difficult rival early on in the round of 36, the Champions of Italy: Juventus. The home and away legs challenged the players to the maximum. The thrilling front-line failed to score, and the two significant away goals came from Alexia and Marta Torrejon; Alexia assisted the second goal.
The home game didn’t get any easy for Barça. Alexia provided the lead in 32′ minute; after that, Juventus scored an own goal, and Barça conceded an away goal in the second half. A rough and hard-fought 4-1 victory on aggregate.
Barcelona Femení’s next challenges were domestic rivals Atletico Madrid and German champions Wolfsburg in the quarter and semi-final, a single knockout match. Alexia’s role in the team took a turn after the pandemic break. Atletico played a low block resulting in a challenging game for Barça, who couldn’t penetrate and find space to build.
Due to Patri Guijarro’s absence, Alexia played a rather deep role and didn’t have her usual freedom and creativity. She still displayed a phenomenal performance, showcasing her defensive skills.
📊 Alexia Putellas — UWCL 19/20 QF vs Atletico Madrid: Stats with context
3 Key passes 🏅
4 Dribbles 🏅
8 Ground duel 🏅
1 Interception 🏅
2 Tackles 🏅
4 Ariel duel 🥈(Mapi)
3 Long balls 🥉(Highest attack + midfield)
105 Touches 🥉(Highest attack + midfield)
🏅 Highest pic.twitter.com/8FLJUOKhv2
— Alexia Putellas Info (@PutellasFutbol) August 21, 2020
Alexia, quite early on, made a transition from LCM to a double pivot along with Kheira Hamraoui against Wolfsburg. Another impressive performance in a position she isn’t usually the most comfortable in.
📊 Alexia Putellas — UWCL 19/20 SF vs Wolfsburg: Stats with context
71 touches (Highest in attack + midfield) Overall 🥉
47 acc passes (Highest in attack + midfield) Overall 🥉
2 Key passes 🥈(Jenni 3)
3 Dribbles = Jenni and Kheira (Attack + Midfield) pic.twitter.com/M3o3GXkcgb
— Alexia Putellas Info (@PutellasFutbol) August 27, 2020
Alexia’s overall stats and numbers from UWCL compliment her incredible and tireless effect for Barça.
- 4 G/A – Barça’s leader
- 498 Passes completed – Highest in UWCL
- 2.66 Through Passes – Barça’s leader
- 55% Ariel Duels – Barça’s leader
- 73.6% Defensive Duels – Barça’s leader
- 50 Shots on Target – Barça’s leader
- 5 Key Passes – Barça’s leader along with Caroline Graham Hansen
[Stats via NWSLAnalitica]
Highest chances created – Alexia created 5 chances against Atletico Madrid and Wolfsburg, the same as Jenni Hermoso. 10/21 chances created for Barça were from the duo. [Via SofaScore]
The Highest Honours
Alexia has some impressive individual milestones under her belt. The Catalan player scored the historic first goal in Johan Cruyff Stadium in the season opener vs Real Madrid (CD Tacón). She played her 300th official game in Blaugrana colours on March 1st 2020; she has a total of 305 appearances to date, the 3rd highest in club history. Alexia has appeared in the most Champions League matches for Barça, 43.
She is also the third top scorer in the club’s history with 117 goals; this accomplishment is more imposing because she has spent some early years of her career as a winger until she found midfield as her most powerful asset.
Alexia Putellas’ Leadership
It will be a disservice to Alexia if her performance on the pitch is celebrated in isolation, and her off-pitch impact isn’t discussed. The Catalan player led her team with exemplary behaviour. Patri Guijarro sang praises for her captain’s mentality and influence on their teammates in training sessions and matches.
“She is humble and a leader in every game, she says give at least 90% because all games are important and all games have requirements, for her the requirement is the maximum. Alexia has been a fundamental pillar of the team.”
“The passion she has to train…Alexia Putellas says it and transmits it to you, and when you start training, you understand it yourself.”
Vicky Losada, the first captain, wasn’t behind with her compliments either.
“Alexia is calm and serious, organized and everything on the right time kind of person. She keeps to herself in her little corner, but when she speaks, she commands attention, and that’s why she is a captain.”
Ana-Maria Crnogorčević, the Swiss international who joined Barça midseason, shared her experience with players and Alexia in particular who left an impression.
“I came here, and it was like ‘the only rule we have: just take care of the ball.’ It was actually Alexia Putellas who told me that: ‘you can do whatever you want, just take care of the ball.’ That’s just so powerful and so refreshing.”
One of the many things that have garnered immense respect for Alexia is her humility and strength to lead the team in tough times. May it be the final against Lyon in 2019 or semi-final against Wolfsburg 2020. Putellas faced the media, addressed the fans, and promised more incredible things in the future.
🎤 “There’s no distance”. pic.twitter.com/O8ZazdJmiQ
— FC Barcelona Femení (@FCBfemeni) August 26, 2020
Barcelona Femení has a leader and captain for years to come. Alexia Putellas writes a golden chapter in Barcelona Femeni’s history with her influence on the pitch and the locker room. The 26-year-old captain will play her 9th season in Blaugrana colours in the 2020/21 season. The relationship between Barça and Alexia is a tale to tell. With her at the heart of everything the club does, one can only hope for more glory to follow.