Spain star Alexia Putellas quits training, raising concerns about availability for Women's World Cup

Spain star Alexia Putellas quit training on Monday, raising doubts she will be fit to play against Costa Rica in their opening match at the Women’s World Cup on Friday.

The two-time Ballon d’Or winner has played only six matches as a substitute for Barcelona since April when she returned after a 10-month layoff with a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee.

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Alexia Putellas looks on

Alexia Putellas of Spain looks on during the Women´s International Friendly match between Denmark and Spain on July 5, 2023 in Soborg, Denmark.  (Ulrik Pedersen/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

Putellas started in two of Spain’s World Cup warmup matches, against Panama and Denmark, but missed the match against Vietnam in New Zealand last week.

She left Spain’s training run at Massey University near Palmerston North after only 30 minutes on Monday during which she took part in passing drills and seemed comfortable. A Spain team spokesperson said her early departure was planned.

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Alexia Putellas kicks ball

Alexia Putellas of Spain controls the ball during the Women´s International Friendly match between Denmark and Spain on July 5, 2023 in Soborg, Denmark.  (Ulrik Pedersen/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

Midfielder Irene Guerrero spoke to the media at the end of training and said she hoped Putellas would be fit to play Friday at Wellington’s Sky Stadium.

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Alexia Putellas pursues ball

Alexia Putellas of Spain duels for the ball with Carmen Montenegro of Panama during the international friendly match between Spain Women and Panama Women at Estadio Roman Suarez Puerta on June 29, 2023 in Aviles, Spain.  (Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

“The most important thing is she feels OK,” Guerrero said. “We are happy to have her because she’s a key player on and off the pitch.

“She’s training really hard to reach the game with the best feeling. She’s a key player, as are all the other 22 players. We are all important. All the team is important.”

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