A new three-part documentary series on the two-time Ballon D’Or winner Alexia Putellas will premiere on Amazon Prime Video España this week. Granted exclusive access to the world’s leading female player for a year, it tells the story of a player whose dedication to the sport has revolutionized the women’s game.
Streaming from November 30, Alexia: Labor Omnia Vincit (Work Leads to Victory) is a You First Originals production directed by Joanna Pardos which features insight from luminaries such as FC Barcelona men’s first team coach Xavi Hernández, defender Gerard Piqué and UEFA Head of Women’s Football, Nadine Kessler.
More than the standard fly-on-the-wall documentary, Alexia is stylistically shot and features candid footage of the player preparing for matches in her flat, getting ready for the Ballon D’Or ceremony in Paris and on holiday with her family as well as the usual training ground and gym sequences.
The first episode focuses on the match earlier this year that created headlines around the world when Alexia led her team, FC Barcelona, at Camp Nou in the women’s Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid. A match which was witnessed by a world record attendance of 91,533 spectators.
The cameras follow Alexia’s mother, Eli Segura, as she makes the journey from her workplace only to miss her daughter leading out the team when her coach is delayed in the rush-hour Barcelona traffic. She arrives to see Barcelona go behind to Real Madrid before four second-half goals, including one from her daughter, turn the game around.
Later her mother talks about how her family made many sacrifices to find a girl’s team for a young Alexia. “It was complicated because there weren’t many women’s teams. There was Sabadell and Sabadell alone but going to Sabadell was not easy.” It was a commute Alexia’s parents had to fit in around their work and from which, the then eight-year-old, would sometimes only return from at 11 pm at night because the boy’s teams were always allowed to train before the girls.
In a 2004 radio interview, a ten-year-old Alexia made the admission that “the truth is that when I was a child, I didn’t like football at all.” However she came around to the game and played it religiously, even while her family was out for dinner. Even though few other girls took part in their makeshift games, friend Marc Guinot joked that a young Alexia used to push around the boys who played with them. “I was bossier when I was little,” she laughs, “I wanted to play and things should be done properly.”
Her unrelenting dedication is also explored in depth as Alexia explains the significance of her tattoo spelling out ‘Ad Maiora’, Latin for ‘Towards Greater Things’. Team-mate Mapi León explains that “Alexia lives football very intensely. Very. She’s a football nerd, she’s a huge nerd. I’m not saying it’s bad, she’s the definition of the team-mate I want to have.”
In a session with her physiotherapist and friend, Adrián Martínez, seeks to improve her ability to rest and dislocate herself from the game after Alexia admits she finds it difficult to sleep after games. Martínez discovers that even Alexia’s disconnection from the game is with the goal of helping her improve for the next match, illustrating her total immersion in her profession.
Alexia rationalizes this by admitting that playing the game is not work for her, stating that she believes that her career is the best in the world. Only for the first week of her three-week pre-season does she let herself go without thinking of the consequences “I do whatever I feel like doing. I eat and if I feel like drinking and party, or not, whatever.”
The second episode follows her as she collects the Ballon d’Or award in Paris after which she speaks in depth about the loss of her father and how she struggles to come to terms with defeat. The final part focuses on last season’s Champions League final in Turin and the anterior cruciate ligament injury she suffered on the eve of the UEFA Women’s Euro finals this summer from which she is still recovering from.
Alexia recognizes that she may not come across as the most balanced person in the game but says she is willing to make every sacrifice to be the best player she can be. “Maybe you see this story from the outside and you say – ‘this is super-toxic, this doesn’t let you live’. This gives me life. They will say ‘what a boring woman’. My working life as a footballer is short. How could you not make the most of it?!”
The three-episode docuseries will premiere on November 30 exclusively on Prime Video in Spain, Portugal and Latin America, except for Mexico and Brazil.