Linda Caicedo: Colombia's cancer-surviving teenager set to star at the Women's World Cup after Real Madrid arrival

Linda Caicedo Colombia 2023Getty Images

Linda Caicedo might only be 18 years old, but she’s already racked up a list of milestones that some players don’t even hit across an entire career. She’s twice lifted a league title, won a Golden Boot award, played a youth World Cup final, reached the same stage at a home Copa America and signed for one of the biggest clubs in the world, Real Madrid. This summer, with Colombia, she’ll add her first senior World Cup to that glowing CV, too.

In and amongst it all, she also overcame an experience that no one would ever want to endure, one that almost ended her career before it had barely begun. Aged 15, having already had her breakthrough in the Colombian top-flight, Caicedo was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

“At the time, I didn't think I could play professionally again because of all the treatments and surgeries I had to go through,” the forward told FIFA. “Mentally, it was a very difficult moment in my life. I'm forever grateful that it happened when I was very young. I was able to recover, I also had my family's support, and I feel very good now. What happened made me grow. I feel thankful and happy to be here.”

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Caicedo’s mature reflection on such an experience shows what a wise head she has on such young shoulders. It’s a trait that shows on the pitch, too, whether it results in her wearing the captain’s armband, making smart decisions with the ball or working hard to fulfil responsibilities that benefit the whole team.

Alongside her extraordinary talent, it’s another reason why she is one of the most highly-rated young players on this planet. Let GOAL introduce you to a player set for superstardom...