There are people who keep postcards and others, like Salma, who love to collect gold and hoard as much as they can, be it running, jumping or scoring great goals: two gold medals, in the 400m hurdles and relay, and a European sub-17 and two world cups under-17 and under-20 in soccer.
He started when he was only six years old and at eight he was already running the Jean Bouin, one of the most prestigious races in Barcelona. He won it five times in a row. He had been combining his two passions since he was seven, athletics and soccer, until he had to choose one of them after a serious cruciate ligament injury.
His coach Félix Laguna did not want to lose his best athlete, the one who would surely have reached an Olympic final due to her sprinter characteristics, good height and long limbs. For his part, Barcelona coach Jonathan Giráldez was not willing to share a player with as much projection as Salma, and I’m sure Jorge Vilda thanks him a lot. He can play on both sides, with a natural run from outside to inside, with a good ball hit, enough headers and, above all, spectacular one-on-one. In addition, he with a good understanding of the game, associating better every day and adapting little by little to that 4-3-3 between Barcelona and the national team.
Everything is explained from his receptions on the left with a natural leg and with spaces, or on the right, from where he begins to tilt the field towards the rival area. Although his favorite play is the diagonal from the outside in to attack the free space and from there look for the final shot or pass. And all this he can afford because with that power and that stride he reaches a speed that we don’t know if it’s that of sound.
Both at Barça and at senior level, he has been gaining prominence despite entering the field on many occasions as a revulsion and without needing many occasions to score. Right now, he is a fundamental piece in the team’s attack to get a new gold for Spain. He started as a starter against Switzerland, Japan, Zambia and Costa Rica, and he did not need to do so against the Netherlands to score in the 111th game, the most important goal so far in the history of the Spanish team.
Because the one in Zaragoza doesn’t run, it flies, but it’s a flight without an engine; he does not need it. It stays floating in the air by inertia. She is light, elegant, with a stride, worked, it seems that she does not even make an effort and with a lot of talent. Legend has it that in 2019 she came to Villarreal running from Zaragoza and that three seasons later they saw her flying over Johan Cruyff. You have to be careful because if you look at it you turn into gold. She got the first promotion to Primera in the history of Villarreal; a League, a Spanish Super Cup and a Champions League with Barça; and in her debut with the senior team on November 12, a hat-trick against Argentina.
With just one season in the elite, she was one of the 23 chosen by Jorge Vilda for the Euro Cup in England, but a problem with a soleus left her out. We will always imagine what would have happened in that tie against England if Salma had flown from the right or from the left over the Fulmer Stadium and already in the area, a cut to finally hit with all her golden soul.
When she decided to change the tartan for the grass, she took with her the records, the gold medals and the best marks to turn them into cups, goals and MVPs. What joy football, Barça and the Spanish team took. And since she collects gold, why doesn’t she get us one in this World Cup if he has won all the ones he has played?
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