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How to survive the first year of the pandemic by being the best Manchester United footballer?

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How to survive the first year of the pandemic by being the best Manchester United footballer?

Ona Battle is 22 years old, which means she was only eight years old when she saw a World Cup victory unexpectedly uniting all of Spain’s historical nationalities under a single name, the Red, but she doesn’t take it completely. remembers from «I was at a restaurant in my city with my parents and their friends. I was very young, and when the round happened we ran out of the restaurant. I was with my brother. It was glorious. His town is Vilaser de Mar, a small town of 20,000 inhabitants 24 kilometers from Barcelona, ​​full of colorful houses of Indians who one day left to build America and returned with lots of money.

The battles, which when the team triumphed under Iker Casillas were already playing football, though not professionally, now go on to form “England”: the Manchester United women’s team, one of the most important in Europe and the world. (which is part of the Women’s Super League), signed them as a side in 2020, a feat that will crown an ascending career marked by her entry with 17 at Madrid Club de Ftbol Femenino with 15 years at Barcelona B. came to achieve; And at the age of 18, she was invited to play with the Spanish team at the World Cup in France, a milestone she herself has repeatedly said was “like a dream”.

The only problem is that signing as Red Devil (Fans know Manchester players as Red Devil And a red sarcophagus actually appears on the training shield) It came in the year of the coronavirus, which meant several things: first, to tackle a completely troubled sporting agenda; Second, not being able to play at the team’s legendary stadium, Old Trafford, known worldwide as The Theater of Dreams, with people in the stands joining the cast of La Scala in Milan. as it is. And not being able to sing opera in front of an audience.

Ona Battle

Athletes, wearing Longchamp jumpsuits, Nike Dri-Fit swoosh sports bras, Nike Pro 365 shorts, Nike Crater Impact shoes and Nike Spark lightweight socks, are all made from sustainable materials. Photo: Nacho Alegre

Battelle says that in Manchester (where she was named Player of the Year) she felt very quickly at home, as she was treated with great respect and affection by her teammates and the club itself, but still, All the situations described were psychologically complicated for him. . «I experienced a state of alarm in Spain, but I landed in England in the midst of a very strong health crisis. After a month and a half of arrival they forced us to limit ourselves, we had to follow all the safety rules of the government. I lived alone and my only bubble was me, it was a very difficult moment. I’ve always been very independent, but this was another level.

It is easy for Battle to admit that an injury exacerbated his sense of isolation: «I had a very silly sprain that forced me to go without playing for four weeks, but at the same time, I was alone in Manchester Had to live alone for five months. Being able to go on the call for selection, which gave me life, and without being able to see family. Above, there was the question of language: «When I arrived my level of English was very basic. The club gave me from the beginning a translator who would come to the field to help, but speaking at other levels, for example politics, was more difficult for me ». He enlisted the help of a team psychologist, with whom he also spoke in English. “It’s funny, but talking about my feelings in a language that wasn’t mine didn’t cost me anything.”

Acknowledging personal distress and talking about feelings is not very common among high-level athletes and yet she does it with confidence and pride. Protecting mental health is the cause she seeks to defend, taking advantage of her notoriety as a public figure and as an ambassador for Nike, the firm that sponsors Naomi Osaka. About this The tennis player’s recent decision not to offer a press conference and the complicated relationship of her interactions with the media He’s also not afraid to speak up: «I’ve never had a problem, but I’m also on a very different level. I think if we talk about the women’s game then the football player-journalist relationship can help us a lot in giving visibility to what we do because there are times when we don’t get the support ».