Alba María Redondo Ferrer (or Alba Redondo, as everyone knows her) has gone down in the history of Spanish football and, by extension, in the history of the club to which she belongs, Levante UD de València. On 20 August 2023 (at the Australian Stadium in Sydney) he was part of the starting eleven of the Spanish national team that won the World Cup on the Oceanic continent. He did so after beating England 1-0 in the Final. It was approximately 22h in Australia (almost 14h in Europe) and the whole of Spain went wild with joy.

A mythical image in the history of Spanish football. The Final of the Women’s World Cup 2023 has just finished and Spain are World Champions. The players (with Alba Redondo in the centre and the number 17 on her jersey) run to join together in a huddle of absolute happiness.

But until she reached this culminating moment, the Albacete-born player had been working on an impeccable career as a footballer for a long time. And that’s because in her early days, when she was a child, she chose gymnastics as a sport. However, she soon discarded it because she was immediately hooked on football. And one event marked her in her endeavour. An encounter with an illustrious countryman of hers, Andrés Iniesta, when she went to watch a football match that her brother played in Fuentealbilla, the home town of the new Barça star. That day he met the main architect of the first World Cup that Spain would win in 2010. And the little girl to whom that genius signed an autograph was clear, from then on, that she was born to be a footballer.

After playing five seasons with Fundación Albacete in the Primera División Femenina, striker Alba Redondo signed for Levante UD in the summer of 2019.

Bajo la dirección técnica de María Pry la jugadora manchega se adaptó pronto a su rol en el club de Orriols. En la 2019/20, su primera campaña granota, logró 8 tantos y el equipo concluyó en una destacada tercera posición, tras el Barça y el Real Madrid. Esa temporada logró su primer doblete como azulgrana tras la victoria lograda en Logroño por 3 a 4.

En la imagen superior Alba Redondo celebrando el gol que marcó en el 2 a 0 frente al Athletic Club del 8 de septiembre de 2019. Abajo en el primer derbi que jugó contra el Valencia CF en diciembre de 2019. Aquel día las granotes se impusieron por 0 a 1 con gol de Eva Navarro

In the 2020/21 academic year, Levante UD set itself the objective of at least repeating the third place achieved the previous year, behind the two national football giants. And what was planned materialised brilliantly. And not only that, that success allowed the club to compete in the Champions League the following season, an unprecedented experience in Alba Redondo’s professional career.

Alba Redondo scored against Madrid’s top two teams in the 2010/21 campaign. Above celebrating with team-mate Toletti in a 3-0 win over Atlético de Madrid. And below, doing the same with Esther González after scoring in stoppage time to give Levante a spectacular win over Real Madrid in the Spanish capital.

The 2021/22 season could not have started any better for the Albacete player. Under new coach Ángel Villacampa, Levante kicked off the competition with a merciless 4-0 thrashing of Real Madrid at the Ciudad Deportiva de Buñol. And Alba scored his third double as a Granota player in that match. But his spectacular start did not stop there. On matchday eleven, the Azulgranas beat Madrid CFF by the same scoreline. And this time Redondo scored her first hat trick. Brazilian Gio Queiroz opened the scoring 4-0 that day.

Above Alba celebrating one of the two goals she scored in a 4-0 win over Real Madrid on 5 September 2021. Below celebrating one of the three goals she scored in the 4-0 win over Madrid CFF on 20 November 2021.

That season the Granotes played in Europe’s top competition. But to reach the final phase of the Women’s Champions League they had to get through two preliminary rounds. In the first, they had to win two matches in Group 3, which was completed by Celtic from Scotland, Minsk from Belarus and Rosenborg from Norway. Levante won 2-1 in the semi-final against the British team and that day Alba scored her first goal in a European competition. There remained the decisive match against the Scandinavians (who had beaten Minsk) and after an agonising extra time, a brilliant 4-3 win was also achieved. With the added merit that the match was played at the Koteng Arena in Trondheim (Rosenborg’s Norwegian home town). The final round pitted Levante against French side Olympique Lyon over two legs. And although the Granotes played two excellent matches, they succumbed to the French side who, in the end, would be the champions of that edition of the Champions League, beating Barça 3-1 in the Final and winning their eighth European Cup.

Levante UD were unable to overcome Olympique Lyon in the key play-off for a place in the Champions League finals. On the left, Alba in the match played on 1 September 2021 at the Ciutat de València. On the right in the return leg in France. Both matches were lost 2-1 to the eventual European Champions.

It was clear that Alba Redondo had already become a benchmark striker in Spanish football. And that same season she received official recognition when she was named Liga F Player of the Month for January 2022. That season she would eventually score a dozen goals but, unfortunately, the team did not achieve the desired classification and finished in a discreet sixth position.

Alba Redondo was recognised as the F League Player of the Month for January 2022 in the 2021/22 season.

The 2022/23 season has undoubtedly been the most brilliant of Alba Redondo’s professional career. On a personal and collective level, with her football club and with the Spanish national team. Levante UD finished in a fantastic third position, something that will allow them, once again, to play in the top European football competition in 2023/24. And the player from La Mancha won the Pichichi trophy as top scorer of the league tournament with 28 goals, scoring four braces and two hat tricks. She is the third Granota player to win the award, after Adriana Martín (with 22 goals in 2014-15) and Charlyn Corral (with 24 in 2017-18). And in the World Cup won in Australia she was also Spain’s top scorer (along with Jenni Hermoso and Aitana Bonmatí) with 3 goals.

Alba Redondo was crowned with the Pichichi de la Liga F trophy for the 2022/23 season, scoring 28 goals. Although she made it very clear right away that this fantastic achievement was also a collective one.

The team had a new coach, Sánchez Vera, who had coached Atlético de Madrid for three seasons, from 2018 to 2021. With his approach, the Blue and Whites’ eleven regained a verticality and finishing that seemed to have been lost the previous season. And Alba Redondo became the perfect killer for a much more attack-minded Levante, who scored 28 more goals than in 2021/22.

Alba scored three goals against Real Madrid in the 2022/23 season. On the left in the 2-2 draw at the Ciutat de València, where he scored one, and on the right in the brace at Real Madrid’s Ciudad Deportiva, which unfortunately did not prevent a 3-2 defeat.

In matchday 7, Levante UD faced the all-powerful Barça at the Johan Cruyff stadium and almost came close to winning. In the end, the Culés won 2-1, with Redondo scoring the Granotas’ goal.

In her fourth season as a Granota player, Alba Redondo added two more hat tricks to her CV. The first came on 4 December 2022 in Levante’s 7-0 thrashing of Betis (on the left with Tatiana Pinto). And the second on 26 March 2023 in a 4-1 win over Real Sociedad (on the right celebrating one of her goals with Colombian Mayra).

On match day 28 (with two more matches to go before the end of the league) Levante UD mathematically achieved third place and with it the possibility of playing in the European Champions League competition in 2023/24. That joy materialised on 7 May 2023 in the derby played at the Ciutat de València, which ended in a 1-1 draw.

Alba Redondo had been the protagonist of a great league season, but she still had the marvellous finale that awaited her with the Spanish national team. The player from La Mancha was one of those chosen by the controversial coach Jorge Vilda to represent La Roja at the World Cup to be held in the summer of 2023 in Australia and New Zealand. The Albacete-born player was the only active member of the Spanish squad, although eight other players had previously defended the Levante colours: Irene Guerrero, Eva Navarro, Esther González, Claudia Zornoza, Rocío Gálvez, Ivana Andrés, Ona Batlle and Alexia Putellas were the former Granotes who were also part of the historic squad that would end up becoming World Champions.

The Granota legacy at the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand was made up of nine members of the national team. On the right, Alba Redondo on her World Cup debut during Spain’s 3-0 win over Costa Rica.

Alba Redondo came off the bench in all three group matches. In the second she was decisive. She scored two goals (the third and the fifth) in Spain’s 5-0 thrashing of Zambia. In the pictures, after scoring and celebrating a goal with her partner. The Albacete native has always made LGTBI equality visible. The photo of that kiss went around the world and went viral.

In the last four World Cup matches, from the Round of 16 to the Final, Alba was in the starting eleven. And in that decisive first round, Spain once again gave their opponents a 5-1 drubbing against Switzerland. And Redondo scored again, this time scoring the second, which he celebrated as always.

In the quarter-finals Spain beat the Netherlands 2-1 and repeated the result in the semi-final victory over Sweden. The player from Albacete again started in both matches. On the left disputing a ball with the Dutch player Jansen and on the right dribbling the Swedish player Andersson.

The World Cup Final pitted Spain against England. The Spanish side were far superior and deservedly took the match. Alba Redondo had a great chance to open the scoring before Olga Carmona’s goal in the 29th minute. With her fantastic low left-footed shot (which went in at the left post), the Sevillian’s goal made it 1-0 and Spain won the World Cup. In the picture, the player from La Mancha in two moments of that legendary match. On the left between England’s James and Carter and on the right advancing under pressure from Hemp.

Alba Redondo in ecstasy after winning the World Cup at the Australian Stadium in Sydney. On the left with the gold medal around her neck and the Cup in her hand and on the right with all her teammates and coach Jorge Vilda on the podium.

The World Cup celebrations in Spain went on and on. On the left at the reception in Madrid before thousands of fans, in the centre with Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and on the right at the Ciudad Deportiva de Buñol, where she was cheered by the first teams of Levante UD.

The great final celebration of Alba’s World Cup heroics came on Saturday 2 September 2023. In the lead-up to the match between Levante and Oviedo, a packed Ciutat de València fell at his feet. Redondo, moreover, took the kick-off with his usual class.

On 6 September 2023 the prestigious magazine “France Football” gave the list of the 30 candidates for the 2023 “Ballon d’Or” and Alba Redondo is one of them. Alongside the player from La Mancha there are five more Spaniards: Olga Carmona, Salma Paralluelo, Aitana Bonmatí (all three also world champions), Mapi León and Patri Guijarro. An extraordinary culmination to an exceptional season for the Granota player.

Alba Redondo will begin her fifth season at Orriols in the 2023/24 season. It is a relationship that all Levantinistas wish from the bottom of their hearts to continue for a long time. And not only because this World Champion has made history in Spanish football, but also because she has become, forever, a Granota legend.

And this beautiful human story of Alba Redondo may not be known to everyone. Whenever she scores a goal, she always kisses her right arm and points to the sky with her left. It is a dedication with a single addressee: her uncle José Israel Ferrer Navarro, an army corporal who died in the Yak-42 plane crash in Turkey on 26 May 2003. Seventy-five people died in that tragedy, including 62 Spanish soldiers returning from a humanitarian mission in Afghanistan. Alba was six years old when it happened. When she became an adult, she tattooed on her right arm the phrase “Arriba los corazones”, a song by the singer Antonio Flores, which her mother’s brother loved. So whenever she scores, she kisses the tattoo and points to the sky thinking of her uncle.