SportsMirrors to look at, shoes to wear

Mirrors to look at, shoes to wear

Real Madrid player Esther González, in the Champions League match against City.AFP7 via Europa Press / Europa Press

The most practiced sport in Spain is soccer. Since I can remember, I have kept countless memories linked to a grass field. Summer afternoons with friendly tournaments, nights at home following a family meeting or moments in the dressing room from any tournament in the world, where distance does not prevent the competition from continuing.

There is a reality that is evident. Because of the tradition and greatness of our clubs, because of our culture since childhood, it is the sport that the media promotes the most, the one that generates the most debates and, consequently, it makes sense that it is the one that occupies the most space on television.

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The ease of practicing it allows anyone to be encouraged from a very young age. At school, in the streets, on the beach and of course, in the infinity of fields that we have in most cities. We all have this image etched on our retina, with a crowd of children chasing after a ball. It is something that we see as natural and allows that passion to gradually emerge.

In this sense, it is a joy to see the growth of women’s football. Respect, visibility and recognition for the modality has been growing in recent years. As a professional tennis player, as an athlete in a discipline where equality has broken many barriers, I cannot help but feel great pride in seeing my fellow soccer players taking great strides forward.

The media play a key role in promoting it. They are essential for girls to have references and, above all, references. Mirrors to look at and shoes to wear. The new generations grow up observing everything at breakneck speed, and that is a reality that must be exploited. It will not be for lack of merits or lack of reasons for these media spaces to be granted.

You have to find a will to show your deeds, both in Spain and in Europe, and thus achieve a real integration in the sports fan. There is a lot of work to be done, but the progress is being seen year after year. It is possible that the league is quite unbalanced due to the economic difference between the clubs, but it is something that we have always seen in the men’s section.

The structure has been reinforced in recent times, suggesting that growth is no longer a specific situation but rather a decided course towards change. The League has been made professional, a club like Real Madrid has decided to open a women’s section, and only in its second year has it been able to compete in the Women’s Champions, giving Spanish football extra national and international visibility.

Barça’s successes have finished propping up interest. The Champions League title won last season, a whole door knocked down on a continental level, ended up showing that the potential in Spain is already definitive. The club has managed to have the best players in Europe in all lines of play, and I would say that they are not far from being recognized as a team worldwide.

Just a few days ago, in a day for history, the European awards for women’s football were awarded. The awards for best goalkeeper (Sandra Paños), best defender (Irene Paredes), best forward (Jenni Hermoso) and best midfielder and player in Europe (Alexia Putellas) went to footballers who play in the Spanish league. A competition that started this weekend and in which Barça will aspire to continue beating records.

The effort of the players well deserves recognition. After what they have experienced, hailed as the best footballers on the continent, there is no better time to look for another step forward. Women’s football is an attractive front for sponsors, a reality at home with tremendous room for growth. Given a chance, there will be many athletes capable of pursuing a professional soccer career.

They are not going to give up their efforts to put sport in the place it deserves. Get in the bandwagon before it’s too late. This coming summer they have an appointment with the Spanish team in the United Kingdom. The girls will give it their all in the European championship. I have no doubt that your effort can become our joy. Let’s do our part to achieve it.

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