Women’s soccer in Spain has achieved a historic milestone by securing both the World Cup title and the Champions League at the hands of Barcelona in the same year. The Catalan team, already crowned champions in 2021, reflects the recent heyday of the Spanish league, which has been challenging the dominance of English, French, and German teams. The professional category was granted last year to the sixteen teams of the first division, seeking to increase visibility and profitability in a sport traditionally dominated by men.
The Barcelona women’s team, which became professional in 2015, has been a pioneer in this regard by establishing its own stadium, the Johan Cruyff Stadium, which is shared with the men’s reserve team. The vision of a historic rivalry, the “Clásico” between Barcelona and Real Madrid, drew more than 91,000 spectators at the Camp Nou during a Champions League match in March 2022.
This resurgence has also been supported by investment in television rights, with the DAZN platform securing broadcast rights for €35 million for the period 2022–2027, setting a record in the process. In addition, public subsidies have been given to clubs to help them adapt to the new regulations and strengthen the league in general.
The promotion of young talent has been a mainstay of this success, with several of the players who won the world title in Sydney having found success in the lower ranks and already winning championships in those ranks. Barcelona has laid the foundation for this success by imparting their attacking and possession-oriented approach to football to their women’s section.
The presence and participation of women in Spanish football continue to grow, with an increase in the number of licenses in recent years. Players like Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas have won recent Women’s Ballon d’Ors, showing the global recognition of her talent. Despite having progressed more slowly compared to pioneering nations such as Scandinavia, Germany, and the Netherlands, Spain has made marked progress in international tournaments.
Despite these achievements, internal tensions and challenges continue to be part of the history of Spanish women’s football, as seen in the resignation of fifteen players from the squad in protest against the methods of the national coach. Despite the challenges, the recent success is testament to the growth and evolution of women’s football in Spain.