Salma Paralluelo

Will Salma Paralluelo set World 11 youth record?

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Salma Paralluelo
  • The Spanish striker is one of 23 finalists in the running for the FIFA FIFPRO Women’s World 11

  • If voted into the team of the year by her peers, Paralluelo will be the youngest player in history to achieve this feat

  • FIFPRO sums up why her fellow professionals have voted to include her on the 23-player shortlist

Salma Paralluelo made a huge impression on the world of football during the 2022/23 season with her speed and knack of popping up at crucial moments, despite her tender years, as we saw in the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

It is therefore no surprise that the Barcelona forward, senior world champion with Spain in August 2023, is one of the 23 players in with a chance of being chosen for the FIFA FIFPRO Women’s World 11.

If selected in the Women’s World 11, Paralluelo would break the record for the youngest player to make the global team of the year, surpassing Canada’s Kadeisha Buchanan, who was selected at the age of 20 in the first edition of the award, in 2015 (presented in February 2016). Paralluelo would pip Buchanan by just one month as the Spaniard – if successful – would receive the award aged 20 years, two months and two days, while the Canadian won it at 20 years, 3 months and 13 days.

Fellow forwards Jennifer Hermoso, Lauren James, Sam Kerr, Alex Morgan, Alexandra Popp and Alessia Russo are vying with Paralluelo to see who will make the World 11 based on their performances for the period 1 August 2022 to 20 August 2023 inclusive.

The 2022/23 season

Paralluelo capped August 2022 in the same way she ended August 2023: being crowned a world champion. The left-footed Zaragoza-born forward helped Spain to the U-20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica, scoring twice in the final against Japan.

At that time, the trophy won in Costa Rica was her second at world level; in 2018 she had also become a champion by winning the U-17 Women’s World Cup. Becoming a senior world champion at Australia & New Zealand 2023 therefore made Paralluelo the first woman to win the global fianls at all three levels.

A few weeks before her triumph in Central America in August 2022, Barcelona signed Paralluelo from Villarreal, a move that made her finally decide to give up practising her other great passion, athletics.

This difficult decision – she was a European youth star in 400m and 400m hurdles – immediately paid dividends for her, and not only through the World Cup victories: with Barça she won the Spanish league (she was the team’s second-highest scorer with 11 goals), the Champions League (one goal and two assists) and the Spanish Super Cup (a goal against Real Madrid in the semi-finals).

Moreover, incredible though it seems, because it was so recent, Paralluelo only made her senior international debut in November 2022, scoring three goals against Argentina. It was a small taste of what was to be her enormous contribution at Australia & New Zealand 2023: the winning goal in the quarter-final and the first in the semi-final, earning her a place as a starter in the final against England and leaving Alexia Putellas, no less, on the bench.

Individual achievements in 2022/23

  • Best young player Women’s World Cup 2023
  • Nominated for Ballon d’Or Feminin 2023
  • Player of the Match Women’s U-20 World Cup 2022
  • Nominated for FIFA Puskas Award 2022

Paralluelo in the FIFA FIFPRO Women’s World 11

Paralluelo is a newcomer to the shortlist of 23 candidates for the FIFA FIFPRO Women’s World 11. In the previous season, 2021/22, first a serious ligament injury and then a muscle injury conspired to ruin her chances, as well as ruling her out of the UEFA Women’s EURO, despite being selected.

“Football is my life. It’s my way of living, having fun, enjoying myself. Football is everything.”

— by Salma Paralluelo

The football world talks about Paralluelo

“She’s a unique player, she’s a different kind of player that brings us things we haven’t got and we must cherish her. She also has a lot of room to improve and obviously she knows it. I always tell her to try to play and shoot with the right foot as well.”
Aitana Bonmati, Spanish international player

“In Salma, Spain has a player of the highest level.”
Emma Hayes, Chelsea manager

When will the 2023 FIFA FIFPRO Women’s World 11 be known?

The 2023 FIFA FIFPRO Women’s World 11 will be officially announced at The Best FIFA Football Awards 2023, for which the gala will be held on Monday 15 January in London, England.

It will be made up of the 11 players – out of the 23 on the final list – who receive the most votes in their position.