Hermoso on Rubiales case: It made me stronger

Spain’s Jenni Hermoso said it still hurts that she was dropped after winning the World Cup but that the past six months have made her stronger ahead of Wednesday’s UEFA Nations League final against France.

Hermoso, 33, was not selected for Spain’s games in September by coach Montse Tomé to “protect” her after she pressed charges for sexual assault against ousted Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales for his unsolicited kiss after the World Cup final.

– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)

She returned to the team for October’s internationals, scoring a dramatic 89th-minute winner against Italy in her first game back, and has been ever-present in the side since.

“I didn’t get it and I will never understand it,” Hermoso said in a news conference at La Cartuja in Seville, where Spain will host France.

“It hurt and it still hurts, but it’s something that has happened now and the best thing for me is to be here, wearing the shirt again and playing another final.”

Hermoso, who plays her club football for Mexican side Tigres, scored one of the goals as Spain beat Netherlands 3-0 on Friday to set up a showdown with France in the first-ever Women’s Nations League final.

That win also guaranteed Spain’s place at next summer’s Olympic Games for the first time, capping a remarkable year for La Roja, who had never previously won a knockout game at a major tournament before winning the World Cup.

It has also been a testing time for Hermoso, though, with everything that has gone on off the pitch, which has led to Rubiales being removed from his position with the RFEF, banned from football by FIFA and facing a possible criminal trial in Spain.

“The last news conference I gave was before the World Cup semifinal,” Hermoso added. “A lot has happened since then — it’s hard to know what to say.

“I have changed a lot, personally and in a football sense. It has all served to make me stronger. I have learned a lot and I am lucky to be back in another final after six long months.

“For me it’s important to play another final and to continue here [with the national team]. I feel good, football continues to give me the life I need and I continue to enjoy this sport.”

Hermoso said the Spain team under Tomé — who replaced World Cup-winning coach Jorge Vilda — has taken a step forward since success in Australia and New Zealand last summer.

“The side is more complete and the style of play is clearer,” the forward said. “I think we are aware of what we can become. Previously, we didn’t believe as much.

“That’s the major change both individually and also as a group, that now we can say that we have shown that we are the best in the world and, if we win, we will have made history once again.”

Meanwhile, Tomé named Alexia Putellas in her 23-player squad to face France. The Barcelona midfielder has not featured for club or country since getting injured in November, but could get some minutes on Wednesday.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *