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Linda Caicedo, best player of Colombian women's soccer

Yamile Martinez (L) takes part in a practice session at the Juanchito Real football Club on the pitch where Colombian forward Linda Caicedo started to play football, in Villag   -  
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At the age of 18, she is the role model for dozens of girls in the small village where she grew up, has joined the elite with Real Madrid and is about to play in her third World Cup in less than 12 months: Linda Caicedo, the best player in Colombian women's soccer.

With braided hair and a permanent smile, the striker is making great strides in her career. When she makes her debut at the Australia-New Zealand World Cup on July 24, she will be taking part in an international competition for the third time, just five months after reaching adulthood.

In 2022, she played with the U-20s in Costa Rica and with the U-17s in India, where the Cafeteros narrowly missed out on the title.

On the stony pitch of Villagorgona, a hamlet near Cali (south-west), Linda honed her body and spirit to perfection, as the only girl to measure her talent against dozens of men.

She's "one of those people touched by God, who were born for this", explains Diego Vásquez, her first coach, to AFP from the sparse pitch.

Today, her dribbling skills enable her to play for Real Madrid, she is ranked as the best player under 20 and, according to the Globe Soccer Awards, second best player in the world.

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