Spain international Jenni Hermoso, speaking publicly for the first time since winning the World Cup, told GQ in an exclusive interview that she underwent counseling after receiving threats over the unsolicited kiss she received from then-Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales after the final victory.
Rubiales, who stepped down on Sept. 10, is facing criminal charges for kissing Hermoso on the lips without her consent during the awards ceremony after Spain beat England to win the Women’s World Cup Aug. 20 in Sydney.
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Hermoso told GQ Magazine: “I have had to suffer the consequences of an act that I did not provoke, that I did not choose and that was not premeditated. I have received threats and this is something that you never get used to.
“These past weeks have been very difficult but thanks to my psychologist, I feel strong and I am not defeated and I don’t have thoughts about quitting football. I am not disenchanted.”
Hermoso, 33, gave videotaped testimony to a Spanish state prosecutor in September, only for it to be leaked to the media.
“Having to tell it over and over again was hurting me a lot,” the Pachuca striker said. “But I know I had to let it out somehow.
“I don’t know if life had this in store for me or not, but it has made me see everything in a different way and realize that although I have reached the top in my sports career, there is much more.
“I’m going to learn to take advantage of this story positively to fight for what I believe is good for society.”
Ballon d’Or Feminin winner Aitana Bonmatí recently said that the turmoil that erupted after Spain’s women’s World Cup triumph will have been worthwhile if it ushers “definite improvements” for women’s rights.
Spain’s women had pushed for change within the Spanish Football Federation in September of 2022.
The demands for improved conditions for women returned minutes after the final in Sydney because of Rubiales’ inappropriate behaviour.
In September, players called off a strike in the professional top tier of women’s football in Spain after reaching an agreement about minimum wages, set at €21,000 for this season.
“It makes me really mad when people say that women’s football doesn’t generate as much money as men’s football,” Hermoso said. “Obviously we know that and we have never asked to be paid what they are making. We are simply asking for the most basic thing: To have a minimum salary and to be respected and to be given the opportunity to do great things. As soon as we had it [opportunity], we won the World Cup.”