Melanie Serrano: "I've gone from playing on dirt pitches to filling the Camp Nou and raising a Champions League"

After 18 seasons at Barça, Melanie Serrano hangs up her boots.

Melanie Serrano: "I've gone from playing on dirt pitches to filling the Camp Nou and raising a Champions League"

After 18 seasons at Barça, Melanie Serrano hangs up her boots. Between tears and applause she burst into a room that did not fit a pin. "When she sees that she does not contribute to the team what she wants to contribute, she begins to consider other goals to help in another way," she acknowledged in a speech that she read in detail, trying to contain her emotions. “I have had to do a very important internal reflection, with my family”, she explained to make a decision that has been “very difficult to make” after a lifetime at Barcelona.

The longest-tenured soccer player in the squad said goodbye in the press room at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper surrounded by the entire squad and accompanied by his family, including his wife and his twins, born at the end of February. The Barça president, Joan Laporta, was also present, one more example of the magnitude of the legend that this footballer is for the Blaugrana entity.

“That is to say goodbye to a stage in my life and open another that I am very excited about,” announced the footballer, who did not want to give many details of the new role that she will develop in the club once she hangs up her boots. “The club has suggested a new project for which they count on me and I have not hesitated. I will be able to teach everything I have learned in this house, help to value every detail because what women's football is today is nothing like what it was when I started", he acknowledged.

Almost two decades ago Melanie Serrano, then already a resident of Blanes, landed in Barcelona. She was only 14 years old and she did not know how long she would live in the Catalan club. It is the last redoubt of the soccer players who experienced a very different Barça, of dirt fields, night training sessions and bus trips. “I still remember 18 years ago when a phone call changed my life. I was at school with my friend Aina, we were the only two who played football at school. It was a long number and I hesitated to take it. When I hung up I started screaming and crying."

In her farewell, Melanie recalled what those beginnings were like: “Every day I took a train from Blanes to Barcelona, ​​an hour and a half away to then take a metro and run to training on time. She could never finish the session because if not, she would miss the last train back home. I've gone from playing on dirt fields, late at night, wearing clothes three sizes too big, sharing the field with four teams; to fill the Camp Nou twice and lift a Champions League”, she explained excitedly.

Now a new stage is opening: “I want to transmit to the new generations the values ​​of effort and work. The important thing is not to have the best facilities, material or salary, it is that now there is respect for us and for women's football”. A future that she hopes to be able to explain to her daughters: "I want them to know that her mother has fought and contributed for equality in sports."

The 32-year-old footballer will retire at the end of this season. This Sunday she will have the opportunity to say goodbye to the fans at the Johan Cruyff in the last League match against Atlético de Madrid. But it will not be her last match with the Barça shirt, with which she can still lift two titles, the Champions League next Saturday, and the Queen's Cup the last weekend of May.