The 15 Spanish internationals, in addition to Paredes or Putellas, are negotiating their return to La Roja | Sports| The USA Print

Alexia Putellas, during a training session for Spain in Las Rozas.

Alexia Putellas, during a training session for Spain in Las Rozas.RFEF/Pablo Garcia (RFEF/EFE)

Alexia Putellas (29 years old) had to leave the Barcelona youth academy because there were not enough teams for girls. Irene Paredes (30) grew up attached to a ball without having any idea that “older girls” teams existed. And when Jennifer Hermoso (32) landed in Rayo’s first team in 2010, she couldn’t even dream of playing in the Champions League: “The prize was to compete.” The three symbolize the bridge generation in soccer practiced by women in Spain. “Those who succeeded in this had to fight a lot to be allowed to play. We now have to fight to have better conditions. So that everything is professional and that we can only focus on playing. And in winning ”, reflects Putellas in the docuseries that she recently released Amazon Prime. A loud and clear message from the team’s star, who is as outside or as inside as the 15 that were meant against the coach Jorge Vilda in that pursuit to professionalize women’s soccer for national teams.

For this reason, there is a word that irritates the Barcelona players when they have to analyze their situation with respect to the Spanish team: rebels. “I don’t think you have to go into adjectives of this type to try to resolve this situation. The real information is ours, from private conversations and I hope it stays there. If that does not happen, it can become an issue that does not benefit anyone”, highlighted Alexia Putellas in an interview with be in sports. The Barcelona captain, who did not raise her voice because she was injured at the time and not fit to be called up, is usually prudent. After the disappointment that the footballers suffered after their riot and the response of the Spanish Federation (RFEF), it is much more so.

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On September 22, 15 players sent 15 emails to the Federation in which they requested “not to be called up to the national team until this situation is reversed.” The letter was not sent by captain Irene Paredes, nor were two symbols of La Roja such as Alexia Putellas, twice winner of the Ballon d’Or, and Jennifer Hermoso, top scorer in the history of the team (42). However, no one in the RFEF doubted that the three would support the rest of their teammates. Practically none of all of them has returned to wear the red. But the struggle, a struggle similar to the one experienced in France, has neither been resolved nor has it ended. They are negotiating. They want to go back and play a World Cup for which there are only five months left. But they no longer do it en bloc. The tension between the soccer players and the Federation began before the Euro Cup last summer. “It may not be worth going in any condition to play the Eurocup. Because what we want is not to play it, it is to win it ”, explains Putellas before the appointment in England in a chat with his mother and his uncle who can be seen in the aforementioned documentary. At that time, the players complained about the lack of professionalization of the team: both in the offices and on the field.

“The other teams are betting and investing. We do not all start from the same conditions”, putellas says. “For example”, she details, “on the trips all the other teams go by charter; we arrived from scotland the other day [en referencia al duelo de clasificación para la Euro, en abril de 2022], which is next door, at seven in the evening after leaving the hotel at eight in the morning. These little details in the super elite are noticeable”.

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The bet of the federative president Luis Rubiales to equalize the percentages of the prizes that UEFA and FIFA distribute between the women’s and men’s teams does not destroy the tension. The players still did not trust the coach, Jorge Vilda. “The workouts are a joke: zero intensity. And he does not know how to raise the parties, ”they complained about the bajini.

Eliminated in the quarterfinals of the Eurocup, the players conveyed their discontent to Vilda. So, already in a clean way. The dispute ended in the offices of Luis Rubiales. The federation president was clear: the players do not add or remove coaches. It was, at that moment, when the footballers said enough was enough. When to send those mail.

At first, they were all together. However, before sending the statement, some backed down. “Don’t get into trouble”, Real Madrid detected their footballers. Little by little, different players were deserting the common bet. A situation that, from within Barcelona, ​​they classify as “a betrayal of Irene Paredes”.

None suffered as much throughout this process as the Barça defense. Months later, no return to the national team was as striking for the players as that of Jennifer Hermoso. When the bet was a joint negotiation, the Madrid player was summoned by La Roja on February 6. “Things are moving,” Paredes acknowledged. The players negotiate with the federation, explains a union representative. “We don’t want to say anything or do anything that would harm the negotiations,” confesses a Barcelona soccer player.

With the World Cup just around the corner, a path is opened for a truce in Spain. The footballers know that there is still a lot of ground to cover. “In the end, that is what the profession of a footballer consists of. We do it for those who will come, so that their energy is 100% to play football”. Word of Alexia Putellas.

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