A Golden Left-Foot

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Júlia Pastor Lázaro prepares for her biggest challenge: shining at FC Barcelona and representing Spain at the highest international level.

When speaking with Júlia Pastor Lázaro, one perceives the presence of a footballer with maturity beyond her years. The passion she radiates is the same that drives her to push herself in every training session. “I’m a left-footed center-back, I have shooting power, and another of my strengths is diagonal passes from center-back to winger into space. I’m also fast and have a strong physique, which helps me with balls played behind the defense and in one-on-one situations,” she confidently asserts. Júlia finds her inspiration in María León, the defender from Barcelona’s first team. However, she reflects on what makes her uncomfortable about her position: “I hate the pressure I have in every match; if I make a mistake, there’s a high chance it will lead to a goal against us.”

In her early days in football, Júlia was the only girl in the summer camps. “I don’t remember much about Marcet since I was very young, but I always remember being the only girl in the entire club and the youngest. They had to put me with a team of older boys. I didn’t like it much then, but now it’s like an anecdote,” she recalls. That early experience shaped her character and skills. “I think at Marcet, I learned various things both on and off the field. On the field, the basics when you’re young: controls, passes, shots… etc. And off the field, especially order, responsibility, effort, and perseverance,” the footballer affirms.

After her time at Marcet, Júlia continued her development at Cornellà, playing in boys’ teams. “I was a bit older, and it was easier for me to adapt to the team, although it still wasn’t easy. Fortunately, I spent the entire boys’ phase with the same kids and gained confidence faster. Having been through Marcet, I already had experience in football and knew how to do some things, but undoubtedly, playing with boys helped me the most in getting to more than enough level when I moved to women’s football,” Pastor shares.

After her time at Cornellà, Júlia jumped to FC Barcelona, an experience that proved to be a significant challenge. “When Barça noticed me, I had already moved to the girls’ team at Cornellà, and I was quite ahead of the others,” Pastor recalls. However, her stay at the Blaugrana club was brief and complicated. “I was there for half a year because the pandemic happened. It wasn’t one of my best seasons, the badge weighed heavily on me and I felt a lot of pressure, I wanted to do everything perfectly.” This pressure led her to make a crucial decision: “I went to Espanyol, where everything was more familiar and calm. I think it was the best step I’ve taken, even though it hurt at the time.”

Her three years at Espanyol earned her a call-up to the Spanish national team and her return to Barcelona.

The stint at Espanyol turned out to be a turning point in Júlia’s career. “I was there for three years, but the last one made me stand out. I won all the tournaments, it was my first call-up to the Catalan and Spanish national teams, and best of all, Barça called me again,” she recalls enthusiastically. The decisive moment came during a tournament in Salou, where her outstanding performance didn’t go unnoticed. “We were in the tournament where we had won thanks to my goal in the quarter-finals, which took us to the semi-finals; another in the semi-finals, which took us to the final; and finally, I scored the winning goal in the final.” After being named MVP of her category at the award ceremony, the Barça coordinator approached her father to discuss her future. “That’s when I knew I would return to the great club,” Júlia remembers, beginning a new stage in her football career.

Júlia wants to leave her mark on football: she dreams of winning a World Cup and the Ballon d’Or.

Júlia has had the opportunity to represent Spain in youth categories. “Playing for the Spanish national team is a source of pride and excitement because you’re at the highest level and representing all the girls in Spain. The first time, you feel a lot of pressure and want to do everything right, but whether you do well or not, the staff has already seen you play more matches or tournaments and knows perfectly well your level and what you can give,” Pastor shares.

Despite her youth, Júlia embodies determination in her pursuit of development and achievements. Her dedication and perseverance are evident, facing challenges with courage daily. With a high technical level, her commitment and thirst for learning have propelled her towards elite football. “I have several goals, but my two preferences are winning the Ballon d’Or and winning a World Cup. That’s still quite far away, but I believe I can achieve it through effort and work. And no matter what happens, I won’t give up,” she states ambitiously. With this distinctive mindset, success is assured for her.

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