October 19 – For the first time since the Women’s World Cup final and the infamous, unsolicited kiss by former Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales, Jennifer Hermoso has been called up for the Spain national team.
On Wednesday, Spain manager Montse Tome, who succeeded Jorge Vilda, included Hermoso in her squad for Spain’s Nations League fixtures against Switzerland and Italy this month.
Tome’s latest squad announcement comes as prosecutors investigate Rubiales’ kiss. He denies charges of sexual assault and coercion. Last month, Rubiales announced his resignation after the unsolicited kiss prompted outrage among players, government officials and politicians in Spain. Rubiales has said the kiss was mutual and consensual but ultimately stepped down following growing pressure.
“In the last call-up, I explained why she wasn’t there, but after the camp, we got in touch. Maybe that opened the door to speculation, but at the time there was no problem with her. We didn’t call her up because we thought it was the best thing for her,” said Tome at a news conference.
”I have noticed her improvement. We are excited to see her, for her to return to training and to start thinking about the future as our goal is to be in the Olympic Games.”
During the Rubiales scandal, the Spanish FA (RFEF) vowed to make “profound changes”.
“Changes have been made in the federation and a lot of work is being done. Now we want to think and talk only about football, both myself and the players,” said Tome.
“With regard to this call-up, I did speak to all the players, the relationship with them is good and professional, there is no need to speculate in that sense.”
However, in testimony to prosecutors that was leaked, Hermoso expresses how difficult it has been for her and how she has felt unprotected. What should have been the pinnacle moment of her career turned into a nightmare.
“I do not deserve to have lived through all this,” said Hermoso in the leaked footage. “It has been very difficult to be able to leave home. I had to leave Madrid to not have that pressure. Why do I have to be crying in a room when I haven’t done anything?”
“They tarnished my image, I felt that no one was protecting me,” she says.
“They were asking me to protect them, to help them, but at no time did I feel that anyone was protecting me.”
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