FC Barcelona: a project that dominates women's football
The female version of the Blaugrana entity has swept the titles and awards from Spain, UEFA, and FIFA in recent years.
Photo: Paco Largo - FC Barcelona
LatinAmerican Post | Onofre Zambrano
There is no one to stop its overwhelming march. Women's Barça won the Spanish Super Cup in recent days after thrashing and dethroning previous champion Atlético de Madrid 7-0 at the Las Rozas stadium. The star was Caroline Graham Hansen, who scored three goals and provided two assists, to close the annual cycle with all possible titles: Cup, League, Champions, and Super Cup.
After leaving their arch-rival Real Madrid on the road in the semi-finals, the decisive match turned out to be much easier than expected for the azulgrana team, who also secured their second Super Cup in five editions with the result.
Barcelona has just swept through 2020-21, a season in which it revalidated its League title, was crowned the most successful team in the Copa de la Reina (eight editions), and also achieved something never seen before in Spanish women's football: the European Cup.
Achievements in bulk
Barça won all the prizes at the 2020-21 Champions League gala. Sandra Paños (goalkeeper), Irene Paredes (defender), Alexia Putellas (midfielder), Jennifer Hermoso (forward), Lluís Cortés (coach) won the award in their positions, and in passing, Putellas was accredited as the best player in Europe.
The fabulous player told El País “I am very happy to receive this award. I want to thank everyone who participated so that Barcelona has been able to achieve a historic season. It is an individual award that could not have been achieved without the group. And that's why my two partners, Lieke and Jenni, were in the final three with me”.
The team became professional in the summer of 2015, after a long struggle to be accepted in that condition, given that, in principle, it was treated as an amateur and in the shadow of the men's team. In its history, 28 titles have already been accredited, distributed as follows: six League titles in the 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2019-20, 2020-21 seasons, the 2020-21 Champions League, eight Queen's Cups in 1993-94, 2010-11, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2016-17, 2017-18, 2019-20, 2020-21.
There is also the Copa Catalunya, which they have won ten times in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, two Spanish Super Cups in 2020 and 2022 and finally, a Generalitat Cup in 1985.
Not bad, compared to the 65 titles of the senior men's team, which has a much longer history. In the case of the team led by Xavi Hernández today, the pennants have been 31 King's Cups, 26 league titles, 5 UEFA Champions Leagues, and 3 FIFA World Cups.
Keys to success
For the media Fémina Fútbol, the success of the Catalan entity is broken down into five very clear factors. The first is structure and organization because, with the arrival of Xavi Llorens on the bench, the ball possession process began. With Llorens, promotion to the First Division was achieved in 2008.
Despite the first league titles between 2012 and 2015, the team was not yet professional as the players had to work and study in parallel and train only at night. It was in 2015 when the Barcelona directives headed by Josep María Bartomeu decided to start professionalizing.
The second aspect is La Masía Femenina. Everyone remembers that men's Barcelona of Pep Guardiola between 2008 and 2012, who based its success on youth talent. The same thing happens here with names like Alexia Putellas, considered today one of the best on the planet, or Melanie Serrano. There are also others such as Aitana Bonmatí, Jana Fernández, or Bruna Vilamala, who have been strengthened with flexible ball possession and quick position transitions.
To prepare this talent you must have a qualified coaching staff, and Barcelona had it with Fran Sánchez, who gave a new look to the style of play of the new European champions despite being only a year and a half on the bench. His replacement, Lluis Cortés, has given even more vertigo and intensity to the girls' game.
Professionalization brought with it another achievement, a stadium of its own. The Johan Cruyff venue was opened in mid-2019 and followed the model of clubs such as Bayern Munich or Manchester City that have their venues for their women's teams.
The fifth aspect is a consequence of the previous four, and that is having sponsors. In mid-2018, they announced a relationship with the North American brand Stanley Black and Decker, thanks to which they made their first international tour as a women's team in the United States. Then came the local clothing brand Naulover, which dresses the players off the pitch and at public events.
The scope with the latter has been such that the label itself created a clothing collection, inspired by the women's team with a special palette with the club's colors.
The growing contribution of women's football
The duel against Atlético de Madrid in 2019 at the Wanda Metropolitano brought together 60,739 spectators, the highest attendance for a women's match in the history of all clubs and it is expected that from now on each classic against Real Madrid exceeds 70 thousand souls.
FC Barcelona is the club of the moment in the women's section, and its achievements raise interest in women's football in Spain and the world, in addition to its stadium, but without a doubt that the importance of Real Madrid is what makes presume that many attendance records will come in its next classics.