On a cold winter morning, a six-year-old girl is outraged by her coach, Llanos Acebal. Alba Redondo (Albacete, 1996) points out the reason for her anger to anyone who comes to ask: she wants to play near the area to score more goals. The 2003-2004 season runs and they are good times for the first male team of Albacete Balompié, which has returned to the First Division. The feminine is another story: it has never reached the highest category. The technicians are busy trying to make the child understand why she must learn to play in all positions.
"Because he was so competitive, playing defense was a guarantee that we were not going to get goals, whereas in reality he did not need to play very high to score. He took the ball in the center of the field and dribbled everyone, "says Acebal, years later, when the anecdote is told. Redondo, today front of the Albacete, remembers his first coach as a reference: "When I was with her, I thought that if a girl could get to train, I could also become a player," he says. That morning I watched the scene Matías Martínez, coordinator of women's football and coach of the first female team of Albacete. Neither Martinez nor Redondo knew it yet, but there were not many years left for them to sign together some of the most brilliant pages of the club.
"We realized very soon that it was special," says the technician. He would later be responsible for guiding the steps of Alba Redondo and turning his ambition into something positive. He did not have it especially difficult, as he explains: "I always remember her with her ears open. If you told him he had to hit a wall, you could be sure that the wall was going to fall. "
The club drew a special strategy for her and for the players of her generation. Given the unequal level of the leagues composed by exclusively female teams, Martinez fought with the institutions to be able to build mixed teams until the age of 13. The technician managed it and Redondo had to devise them in the inferior ones of the equipment manchego. "As the years went by, since physically they were already bigger than her, we realized that Alba had gotten used to always playing two or three touches, which had greatly improved her technique. Then, when he made the jump to women's football, he went two or three marches over the rest, "says the coach.
The case of Albacete is unique. For example, Ewa Pajor is a top scorer of the Bundesliga in Wolfsburg with 15 goals representing 27.2% of his team totals; Ada Hegerberg does the same with another 15 at Olympique de Lyon, who represent 23.4% of the team. In England, Vivianne Miedema is the top scorer in the league with 14 goals that mean 30.4% of Arsenal's production. The Albacete, tenth of 16 teams, has only achieved 27 goals in 17 games: 11 of them, 40.7%, is the author of Alba Redondo, second top scorer of the competition, after Charlyn Corral, Levante: 13 .
Only this degree of dependence exceeds the Royal Society, which deposits in Nahikari 41.3% of its goals. The difference is that, as explained by the coach of Albacete, Carlos del Valle, Redondo does it in a team that only aspires, at most, to save the category.
The dream of the World
"Well, it's a job of all, I can not bargain to the opposing team alone," says the front when told these statistics. Del Valle does not lower his merit so much: "He's doing a spectacular season. Alba is marking the differences. He has no roof. " The forward debuted in the absolute national team last November, and has also been the first La Mancha to do it while still playing in the Sunrise, both feminine and masculine.
He has entered the last call of Jorge Vilda, but almost does not want to talk about the World Cup in France this summer: "I do not know if they will call me, I consider myself a novice. Just imagining it makes my hair stand on end. " His coach, again, looks further: "What I do not imagine is a World without Alba. If it goes, it will highlight insurance. I do not think it is very far from the level of the best players in Europe. "
Few know that before his first match with Spain and before, even to debut in First, Redondo closed a circle opened 15 years ago. In the 2013-2014 season, in the Carlos Belmonte, with Matías Martínez, his discoverer and trainer, on the bench, Albacete defeated Granadilla Tenerife South 2-0 to ascend for the first time in its history to the highest category of women's football . The two goals were from Alba Redondo, a 17-year-old girl who, when she was a child, got angry if she did not play near the area.