Alexia Putellas tries to reduce the tension with Barcelona | Soccer | Sports


Alexia Putellas divides the Barcelona leadership. There are those who doubt her football — “I still don’t know if she will recover her level,” they argue from the offices —, also those who want the captain not to move from Sant Joan Despí — “She is a reference, on and off the field “, they emphasize in the Ciudad Deportiva. Those closest to the midfielder, those who live with the player on a daily basis, understand that Barcelona can only lose. “If she renews her, those who don’t want her will complain that she charges too much. And if she doesn’t do it, there will be those who will protest because we let the women’s symbol go, as happened with Messi in the men’s team,” comments a club employee. In the midst of the storm, Putellas remains. “She just wants to play and renew. She doesn’t want to leave,” say those who know her. “What she does is certain,” the same sources emphasize; “She doesn’t want a fight with the club.”

When Alexia appeared on Montse Tomé’s squad list for the Nations League, Barcelona raised a cry. “He is not medically discharged,” they complained. He hadn’t played for four months. The Barça entity was surprised by the decision of Putellas, still in the process of recovery, after having undergone an arthroscopy on his left knee on December 27. “The information I had on Levante day (February 14) is that she would not be called up. The next day he appeared on the list so I guess there was some conversation. On a personal level, it was a surprise,” said Jonatan Giráldez, Barça coach, after the club’s last game before the break. “They were warned and it was not difficult for everyone to know,” other sources responded to EL PAÍS. “A communication error,” both parties agreed this Thursday, after Putellas was crowned champion of the Nations League. Of course, without playing a minute. “I’m very good, super happy, goal achieved, we are going to the Games and champions. I feel good, looking forward to playing, there is little left. Now back with the club and nothing, to enjoy playing, which is what we all like,” Alexia celebrated.

The Barça club closely followed Putellas’ movements in Spain: they breathed when he was left out of the semi-final against the Netherlands, although they frowned when he entered the list to face France. The interest of the Barça number 11 was to continue recovering, to feel important and a leader in the locker room again and to breathe the atmosphere that had been lost in the previous calls. On Sunday, Monday and Tuesday before the final he completed training with the team. The data was sent to Barcelona, ​​and was well received, although a telematic registration was never considered despite the expected recovery deadlines having been met. Although she never thought about the calendar. “Alexia already feels completely Alexia,” they confirm to this newspaper.

But Putellas watched the final from the bench. He did not consider whether to play or not, although he trained with his shin guards on and his socks high. “I could have played if the context and the game had been different,” say those who work with her. “Better, she didn’t have to risk it,” says a Barcelona employee. “She couldn’t have turned out in a better way,” she acknowledged to those around her. The sporting director of the RFEF, Markel Zubizarreta, insists that the trip with the national team benefited the Barça midfielder. “Alexia is a very important person in this group, she is one of the captains, she has undergone an exemplary recovery process and is leaving for Barça better than when she arrived,” said Zubizarreta. “At Barça she was going to have three days off and in the national team they trained every day,” they justify from those around the footballer.

Noise, much less tension, were never Putellas’ allies. However, her name has been in the showcase for a long time, first as a symbol of women’s football after winning two Ballon d’Ors, then when her new contract became one of the capital issues of Barcelona. She signed her last contract in 2021, after Barça’s first Champions League in Gothenburg. Since then, she became Barcelona’s highest-paid footballer. However, there was no review of her contract after winning the two Ballon d’Ors (2021 and 2022). Period in which Barça women’s income skyrocketed. In the last three campaigns, Barça went from earning 4.6 million to almost 18, according to the budget, in the current season.

Barcelona’s first offer to Putellas was for three years. But the club chose to change the conditions: same amount, but less time, one less season. Alexia, for now, does not respond. “Ale wants to renew and play, play and renew. He doesn’t care about the order,” they emphasize from the Putellas environment. “We want her to renew and she wants to stay. But we want her to stay within the parameters of the club,” explained the Barça president, Joan Laporta, in an interview with Rac1. At the moment, his renewal is in standby: Until he returns, there will not be a talk with Marc Vivés, current sports director of the women’s section of Barcelona.

After her stay with Spain, Alexia’s return is imminent. And both the club and those who work with it are optimistic and believe that Putellas will be able to reappear against Athletic in the semifinal of the Copa de la Reina (March 7). Meanwhile, the player only wants to think about football. Above the shadow that has risen over her these weeks is her complete confidence in herself. She is eager to play. After the storm, calm is coming. Alexia just wants the peace of hearing the heels hit the floor of the locker room tunnel.

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