Wednesday. 5:30 p.m. An hour and a half before the start of the Valencia-Barcelona match in the F League, the fans begin to gradually enter: Valencian fans and culés who line up at the gates of the Antonio Puchades Stadium in the Ciudad Deportiva de Paterna. The no-entry sign is hanging. Valencia scarves, Barça flags, banners and shirts from both teams begin to give color to the central tier, to which access was cut off around 6:15 p.m. to redirect fans to the second tier.
The leader of the competition visited Valencia and the expectation was maximum. Despite being a weekday, cold, very humid, and in the middle of the afternoon, close to 1,700 people did not want to miss the champion’s visit. From the Valencian club they had enabled the online sale of tickets to, they explain, avoid queues and assure fans that, upon their arrival at the stadium, they would have a seat, since last season there were people queuing hours before the ticket offices opened and many were unable to enter.
“You have already made me change places four times…”, a mother protested to her daughters, who wanted to be as close as possible to their idols and changed the central tier, which is high, for the one in front, at field level . They were not the only ones, many fans plotted the best strategy and location on the field to get a photo and a signature from the players after the game. There were families, soccer teams, people of all ages…
When the two teams went out to warm up, two friends, Inés, 12, and Neus, 13, leaned against the railing, not missing a single detail of the exercises, not a single movement of each player. “Mapi, I want your shirt!” Shouted Inés, who became fond of Barça for women two years ago when she started playing soccer. “We have skipped training to come… Two months ago we already started talking about this match. It is the first time that I see Barça live, ”she said. Neus, despite being from Valencia, was the first time he had set foot in the Puchades. “We went to Valencia-Levante at Mestalla and I really enjoyed it, because Asun is my favorite player and she scored a hat-trick”, she recalled.
Among the great expectation to see Barcelona, the close to 600 faithful Valencian fans stand out, who occupy the majority of the central stands in each game and who did not stop cheering for their team during the 90 minutes. Sportingly, the analysis is clear: it was another Barça monologue. The superiority of Jonatan Giráldez’s team is gigantic. Like Núria Rábano’s great match on the left side. Despite the goalkeeper Sandra Paños saying that it was not the team’s best game, the luminous scored an easy 0-4 (Rölfo, m.3; Oshoala, m.15; Rölfo, m.22 and Bonmatí, m.47) which represents the team’s 52nd consecutive victory in the League and against a Valencia that tried to revolt with several dangerous arrivals in the area, among which a great opportunity from Asun stood out, which Paños avoided with a great hand. But this is not new. The League is dominated by a Catalan team that has a much higher mobilization power than the rest.
They know what it is to fill the Camp Nou twice. They broke the world record by putting 91,553 people on the field in March last year, a figure that their teammates from the men’s first team could not match. In addition, they fill their stadium, the Johan Cruyff, with around 5,000 people each game. But when they go outside of Barcelona they also manage to mobilize followers. In Seville there were long queues to buy a ticket for the match against Real Betis; and large stadiums have also opened this season such as the Heliodoro Rodríguez López in Tenerife, the Nuevo Colombino in Huelva or the Civitas Metropolitano in Atlético de Madrid, a match for which more than 20,000 tickets were sold.
“It is super nice to receive the love from everyone, that they want to come see us because they know that whenever we play they will enjoy football and it is the most important thing, that these fields are full for all the people who come and want to bet. for us, that they see that this really works. Thanks to all the fans, both from Valencia and ours, who always make an effort to support us”, explains Paños. The goalkeeper from Alicante fulfilled the dream of one of those girls who came to Puchades. While she was signing autographs on papers thrown from the central stands to the soccer players of a recently created team – they have been playing for nine months – the goalkeeper of this team burst into tears. “But why are you crying?” Paños asked. “It’s that I admire you a lot and I want to be like you, even if I have a lot left,” said the girl through tears. “The important thing is to continue and work. Come here to hug you”, the culé told him. And she went up to the stands to give him a hug.
“We are privileged and privileged for being able to mobilize so many people and for them to give us support. Our duty and ambition is to try to play well every game in order to continue engaging people. Let it not be a thing of a day and we give the fans reasons to continue accompanying us and to continue having this good football atmosphere. I think that the people who have come to Puchades have felt and experienced it that way. It is what football generates when two good teams face each other, if what happens on the pitch is attractive, you give them reasons to repeat it again. It is our responsibility in training to try to continue improving the version at a football level to continue giving people reasons to continue watching us, accompanying us and filling stadiums, because that is the way”, explained the Barca coach, Jonatan Giráldez. And this is the power of women’s Barcelona. Propose -and achieve it after a lot of work over many years- to be better every day and that their success, increasingly recognized, go further and cross the field of play.
You can follow EL PAÍS Sports on Facebook Y Twitteror sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter.