Barcelona star Aitana Bonmatí sent a message of support for her fellow Spain Women’s World Cup teammates, including Jenni Hermoso, after winning the UEFA Women’s Player of the Year award on Thursday.
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Bonmatí, along with Manchester City Champions League star Erling Haaland, were both named UEFA Players of the Year in the UEFA awards ceremony in Monaco. England manager Sarina Wiegman and Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola were women’s and men’s Coach of the Year winners.
Spain’s Women’s World Cup victory has been overshadowed by the behaviour of Spain football federation president Luis Rubiales after Spain’s Women’s World Cup final win, including his unsolicited kiss on Hermoso.
FIFA suspended Rubiales, who is both the president of the Spanish football federation and a vice president at UEFA, for at least 90 days while it investigates the kiss he forced on Hermoso and the ongoing fallout from his overall conduct at the final in Sydney.
“These are not very good times for Spanish football. We come from winning the World Cup, but not much is being said about it, because there are things happening and I would not like to let these things go by unnoticed,” Bonmatí told the crowd in Monaco. “And I would like to comment something on what has happened. I think as a society, we must not allow abuses of power in the workplace nor displays of disrespect.
“To all the women who have been subject to what has happened to Jenni, we stand with you. And I hope we continue working so that this society gets better.”
Bonmatí registered a competition-high 13 goal contributions in the Women’s Champions League as Barcelona, playing in their fourth Champions League final in five years, beat VfL Wolfsburg 3-2 for the title.
Wiegman also offered words of support for the Spain squad, who defeated her England team in the Women’s World Cup final.
“We all know the issues around the Spanish team and it really hurts me as a coach, as a mother of two daughters, as a wife and as a human being,” Wiegman said upon receiving her award. “The game has grown so much but there’s still a long way to go in women’s football and in society.
“I would like to dedicate this award to the Spanish team, the team that played in the world cup such great football that everyone enjoyed. This team deserves to be celebrated and deserved to be listened to.”
Bonmatí was chosen for the award over Spain teammate Olga Carmona and Australia’s Sam Kerr.
Haaland was chosen over finalists Kevin De Bruyne, his City teammate, and Lionel Messi, who played last season with Paris Saint-Germain.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino also commented on the behaviour of Rubiales later on Thursday, reiterating that the organisation will fully investigate the events.
“The well-deserved celebration for these magnificent champions was spoiled by what happened after the final whistle. And what continued to happen in the following days,” he wrote on Instagram.
“This should never have happened. But it did happen and FIFA’s disciplinary bodies immediately assumed their responsibility and took the necessary actions. The disciplinary proceedings will continue their legitimate course.
“On our side, we should continue to focus on how to further support women and women’s football in future, both on and off the pitch. Upholding true values and respecting the players as persons as well as for their fantastic performances.”