As far as European soccer is concerned, 2021 was the year of Barcelona. They retained their Spanish league crown in style, started the new campaign by winning every single match, and won the UEFA Women’s Champions League for the first time in their history with a 4-0 hammering of Chelsea in the final.
Football is a team game, but Alexia Putellas was widely regarded as the star of the show. From midfield, she recorded well into double figures for both goals and assists. The Best FIFA Football Awards spark debate annually, but few were against her picking up the prize for Best Women’s Player — shortly after she won the Ballon d’Or.
Away from those headlines, however, there is a player doing remarkable things alongside Alexia in Barcelona’s midfield. Quietly, Aitana Bonmati is developing into one of the most talented and influential players in the world. At the end of December, she extended her contract with the European champions through the 2024-25 season. The announcement was met with relief among the Barcelona fanbase; in the weeks prior, there was some speculation of a potential transfer. Alexia is a symbol of the club’s present; the 24-year-old Aitana is key to its future.
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