Melanie Serrano renewed her contract with Barcelona for one more season. The 30-year-old defender will play her record-holding 17th season in Blaugrana colours. A player who has devoted her entire life to the Catalan club falls short on the growing mainstream popularity of women’s football, but not on recognition and respect from her fans and peers.
“I will continue at the club of my life for one more year. I am very grateful. Above all, tell the fans that we need you, that we want you to be fighting with us to win and get these much-desired titles.”
Melanie Serrano: From Dark to Golden Age
17 seasons, 17 years with one club is an unheard statement in women’s football. Not because the female athletes lack loyalty, but the conditions and limitations on the sport do not allow them longevity. The long-term contracts are often no more than three years; it is rare for a player to stay with a club for more than five seasons, give and take.
We have a few examples of Lyon, Arsenal and Wolfsburg players, our captain Vicky Losada, vice-captain Alexia Putellas and third captain Marta Torrejon. However, Melanie’s 17 seasons have a history and uniqueness of its own, which is unlike any other player.
The Andalusian player joined Barcelona in 2003 at the age of 14. She quickly adapted herself to the club and culture. A few years down, she faced the most heartbreaking low of her career as Barca was relegated to the second division after the 2006/07 season. The blow shook just about every player and member of the club, including Vicky Losada who moved to another local club, Espanyol. There were chatters about dissolving the women’s side; it was an all-time low. Not many adhered, and it was unfair to expect the players to stay when they were literally in the dark ages of Barca Femeni, but Melanie’s faith was firm.
“Barça and I have grown hand in hand”.
Barcelona’s return to the top flight was met with one high after another, the club set standards and surpassed them every season. They were crowned the champions of Spain for four consecutive seasons from 2011-2015, they met another league title drought as the team went through an overhaul and shifted its style from direct play to possession. Amid the league’s ups and downs, Barcelona was continuously performing well in Europe. In 2019, Barcelona became the first Spanish club in history to reach the UWCL final. Following that, Barca won the league for the fifth time in the 2019/20 season, ending their time as the runner ups for four agonizing seasons.
Melanie Serrano was at the center of all the glory; she had developed herself as a perfect, Barca DNA player. In her prime, she was considered as the best LB in Spain, she can play as a LCB as well and if the need arises she can cover ground as a DM. She mastered key passes, link-up with the wingers and her ability to build an attack from the back was one of a kind. Understandably so, she has come down from her high as a player. In the 2019/20 season, she played 14 games mostly as a substitute and managed 3 assists. Nonetheless, her class is permanent. She performed on a decent level whenever Barca required.
Barca honoured the club’s vice-captain, Alexia Putellas for reaching 300 games, before this the numbers were not recorded however they released an entire list and announced Melanie as the player who has played the most games, 448.
Modesty, hard work and devotion, a few characteristics that are running in Serrano’s veins helped her reach an unmatched status at the club. Considering her age, lack of minutes and one-year renewal, it is fair to assume we are headed towards the end of the journey, a golden chapter in Barca Femeni’s history solely belongs to Melanie Serrano.
The most decorated legend in Femeni, with 21 titles.
- Primera División: 2011–12, 2012–13, 2013–14, 2014–15, 2019-20
- Copa de la Reina de Fútbol: 2011, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018
- Supercopa Femenina: 2020
- Copa Catalunya: Winner, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
- UEFA Women’s Champions League: Runner-up: 2019/20
- Segunda División: Winner, 2007–08
From the Segunda Division to five Primera Iberdrola titles, the most in the league history tied with Athletic Club to Champions league final. Melanie has shown the utmost loyalty and respect for the colours she has been defending for 17 years. She goes again, to fight for European glory in August 2020, a long season from September-July 2021, Domestic cups and Champions League 2021/22.
The Undisputed Legend
Melanie Serrano has given it all; there is nothing more to prove; she is not just an undisputed legend for Barca but women’s football across the globe. A leader in the locker-room, substitute, starter, mentor and example for generations of Barca to come. She is untouchable, and when the time comes, Barca owes her a farewell fit for a legend. For now, she continues to defend and inspire Barcelona towards more glory.