Salma Paralluelo, who is only 16, showed again on Tuesday that she is a very valuable player by coming off the bench to play a key part for Spain at the Women’s World Cup.
In the 89th minute in Auckland, Spain beat Sweden 2-1 thanks to a great goal by Olga Carmona. This put Spain in their first World Cup final.
But 19-year-old Barcelona defender Paralluelo set off a tense finish when he put the ball in the net for Sweden with a smart finish in the box with 81 minutes left to play.
Rebecka Blomqvist scored for Sweden to tie the game seven minutes later, but defender Carmona scored a rocket for Spain to win the quarterfinals.
In the semifinals, Paralluelo also came off the bench to score against the Netherlands. Her beautiful goal in extra time was the difference in that game.
She had been a player in every round before that, and her passes from the left wing were a big reason why Switzerland was beaten 5–1 in the round of 16. Two of her passes led to goals for Aitana Bonmati.
Spain is known for its skill and mesmerizing passes, but Paralluelo gives them that special something extra with her speed, straight running, and strength on the wing.
Coach Jorge Vilda has said, “She is a player with a lot of potential, and she has a long way to go before she has done everything she can do.”
“She is very young, and she has only been training for sports full-time for a year. Salma will get better as time goes on.
“She shines already, but I’m sure she will shine even more in the future.”
Paralluelo was born in the city of Zaragoza in the northeast to a Spanish father and an Equatorial Guinean mother. As a child, he played both football and other sports.
“When I was seven, I began doing both. In an interview with FIFA.com last year, she talked about her early football days. “At first, it was just a game for me, but as I got older, I started to realize I could go further,” she said.
Paralluelo won gold in sprints and the triple jump, among other events on the track.
When she was 15, she also ran the 400-meter race at the 2019 European Indoor Championships in Glasgow.
Paralluelo’s football career was just getting started when she went to Villarreal. In April 2021, she tore the ACL in her left knee, which kept her out of action for nine months.
In July of last year, she joined Barcelona, which is quickly becoming the best club team in Europe for women. This was right after another injury kept her from playing for Spain at the European Championship in England.
This meant that I had to give up sports for good.
She said at the time, “It was hard to give up one sport, but it was a step I had to take and I couldn’t be happier.”
Paralluelo helped Barcelona win the Champions League, and now he is close to giving Spain its third world title.
She was on the team that won the Under-17 World Cup in 2018, and she scored twice in the final as Spain beat Japan 3-1 to win the Under-20 World Cup in 2017.
“She is different. Bonmati said, “It’s hard to find players like her who have a background in athletics and whose left foot is so good and who have a really good shot.”
“When we play together, we work well together and try to play her in space or on her feet. Both are possible with her.”