César Luis Menotti, the same one who identified the double pivot as a farce, defined in his day the values to exercise in front of the defense. “Quality, knowledge of the game, simplicity.” Teresa Abelleira (Pontevedra, 2000) fits that mold. In a team that seeks support and is ordered from the ball, it is always necessary to have players who give it fluidity, so she is in the perfect ecosystem when she wears red. The importance of her in the world champion team is understood from a fact: she started in the seven rounds of the championship, she touched the ball an average of 102 times per game. And she plays to play, she doesn’t play to play.
“He improves the plays when he receives the ball, he knows how to position himself, always well outlined. It is very difficult to see someone like that, with that understanding of the game, ”explained Jorge Vilda when he began to think of her to join the national team. But at Euro 2022 he left her out at the last cut. The loss of Salma Paralluelo at the last minute encouraged the coach to change his plans, he discarded the option of changing pieces and called Abelleira, who finished the championship in the starting eleven, as an interior in a midfield that Guijarro closed.
The excellent Barcelona midfielder was one of the players who maintained her decision not to attend a federation call. So Vilda found a solution in Abelleira, who had just come off a difficult season at Madrid, where competition from Claudia Zornoza, Maite Oroz and the gala Sandie Toletti had taken away her prominence. “What we have seen in the World Cup is an excellent adaptation exercise that also showed that she has gained a lot in sacrifice without the ball and in disputes,” reflects Manu Sánchez, who was her coach for four seasons at Deportivo, where she lined up as inside.
That embryonic Deportivo was born mostly from the talent of the Galician cadet team. In the club they were alerted when they began to review with Manu Sánchez the ages of the players that he captured. Belleira was 16 years old. “At the level of understanding of the game it is the same as now. It is something innate. It is very rare that at these ages the first thing a girl thinks of when receiving the ball is teaming up with a teammate”, the coach assesses. “She was a young woman off the field and a veteran soccer player on the pitch. She would throw the team on her back without thinking about how old she was,” recalls Miriam Ríos, the captain, one of the few who had already accumulated experience on the field. green. After six months at the club, in January 2017, Abelleira and her partner Raquel Béjar became the first two women soccer players to sign a professional contract with Deportivo. “I asked the club to believe in those girls and they did,” recalls Sánchez. The team cooked up during three campaigns in the silver category: when it debuted in the First Division, it led the table for several days and finished fourth. That summer, after confinement, Abelleira went to Real Madrid.
“Tere is now known worldwide, but in Galicia we have known for a long time that she is top”, laments Miriam Rios. Behind there is a formation with several personal nuances that explain the football of Abelleira, daughter of Milo, a coach with 340 games in Second B in front of teams like Pontevedra, Celta B, Ourense or Cultural. In the celestial subsidiary, several generations of players from Borja Oubiña to Denis Suárez benefited from her teaching. “In terms of football culture and values, surely having a father like Milo helps,” says Sánchez, who relives how a discussion in the locker room about a warm-up was resolved by that 16-year-old girl with a sentence: “They taught me that what say the technician goes to mass”. “I was blown away,” recalls Sánchez.
Now comes the management of success, but there those who know her as their former captain at Deportivo have no doubts: “She is natural, close and friendly and that in a soccer player who is a reference for so many girls and boys is paramount. It’s so gratifying to see what she and her teammates are achieving! I keep getting goosebumps. All of us who were soccer players are and will always be, we will always feel that star as ours as well”.
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