Salma Paralluelo was the FIFA Young Player of the Tournament at the 2023 Women’s World Cup. She made a difference for her country when it mattered the most. Paralluelo scored in the quarter and semi-finals to push Spain to its first World Cup final.
Her pace, footwork and scoring instincts made it difficult for opponents to stop her. Interestingly, Paralluelo was a sprinter. What made her choose football?
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Salma Paralluelo’s Background
The Spanish winger was born in Spain to a Spanish father and an Equatorial Guinean mother. She got into track & field and football at the age of 7 as a way of coping with her mother’s absence. She left for Switzerland to work and provide for her family after Salma’s father lost his job.
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Track & Field
Determined to make things work, Salma became focused on the track. By the age of 15, the former sprinter was a national champion in the 60m hurdles, triple jump, 300m and the 300m hurdles.
Speaking to FIFA+, Salma Paralluelo talked about the significance of her brief time in athletics.
“Athletics allowed me to do things for myself and learn how to make sacrifices. I enjoyed football because I had something to share with my team,”
Salama Paralluelo was part of the Villareal football team, and her track success left people wondering which she’d pick.
“I was good in football and athletics. People in football told me to pursue football and those in athletics wanted me to stay in it. But for me, I wanted to do both because I knew I could compete at the top level in both.”
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Things were going well for Salma Paralluelo until injuries forced her out of both sports. It was then that she made a decision she kept postponing.
“If you want to be great, you have to commit to doing one thing. I couldn’t go back to athletics because I didn’t recover well.” Paralluelo said.
Choosing football has now proven to be the right decision. At 19 years of age, she’s won almost everything in world football.
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Stunning Football Career
Salma Paralluelo spent three years (2019 to 2022) at Villareal, where she played 37 games and scored 23 goals. She scored one of the goals of the season against Barcelona and was nominated for a Puskas Award.
In July 2022, after the end of the season, Barcelona Femeni signed the teenage sensation on a four-year contract, which will keep her at the club until 2026. In her first season, Paralluelo played 29 games, scored 14 goals, and won the Spanish League, Spanish Super Cup, and the UEFA Women’s Champions League titles.
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Paralluelo came through the junior set-up in the Spanish national team. She enjoyed a lot of success, having won the won:
- U17 2019 EUFA Women’s European Championships
- U17 FIFA Women’s World Cup
- U20 FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2022
In the same year, the winger was a surprise inclusion in Jorge Vilda’s team for the UEFA Women’s Euros 2022. Unfortunately, she was sidelined through injury. In November 2022, the youngster made her senior international debut in a friendly match and scored a hat-trick.
In 2023, the athlete played a crucial role in Spain’s historic victory at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Salma Paralluelo is a massive talent and can still get better. She’s proven to be a versatile player with the ability to play centrally and on the wing. When it comes to scoring goals, Paralluelo knows where the goal is.
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