The 15 Spain women players who asked not be selected for the national team due to concerns over coach Jorge Vilda have been left out of the squad for the forthcoming friendlies against Sweden and United States.
The Spanish FA (RFEF) issued a statement last week saying it had received 15 emails from players saying their relationship with Vilda was affecting ‘significantly’ their emotional state and health and ‘as long as it is not reversed’ they resigned from the team.
“This mess is hurting Spanish football. It’s a worldwide embarrassment,” Vilda told a press conference on Friday.
“I’m confused because I don’t know what the players are demanding. I wish there had been more clarity.
“I’d prefer it if they had told me in person and then I’m sure we wouldn’t be in this situation. It’s as simple as that.”
According to sources close to the situation, the players are unhappy with the management of injuries, the atmosphere in the locker room, Vilda’s team selection and training sessions.
“You can talk to me, I’m here 24 hours a day to speak and to express opinions. I’m always open to dialogue,” Vilda added.
“All the training sessions are recorded and I would be delighted if they were all broadcast live. Lack of dialogue? Sure there has been, but not on our part.”
Vilda on Friday announced a list of 23 players to face Sweden and USA on October 3 and 11, respectively.
He omitted regulars including Barcelona’s Patri Guijarro, Mapi Leon, Claudia Pina, Aitana Bonmati, Mariona Caldentey and Sandra Panos, Atletico Madrid’s Ainhoa Moraza and Lola Gallardo, Manchester United’s Ona Batlle and Lucia Garcia, Manchester City’s Leila Ouahabi and Laia Aleixandri and Real Sociedad’s Nerea Eizaguirre and Amaiur Sarriegi, who are reportedly the 15 players in dispute with the Spanish FA.
The 2021 Ballon d’Or winner, Barcelona attacking midfielder Alexia Putellas, who has supported her team-mates, was also not called up, but she is recovering from injury.
Five players have been called up for the first time – Enith Salon, Ana Tejada, Maria Mendez, Nuria Rabano and Ane Azcona – and only two Barcelona players are included – Nuria Rabano and Salma Paralluelo, who is currently injured.
“I think I’m right, that I have the strength to create a new team and have a squad that we’re all proud of,” Vilda said.
“We have to give time. Now we have two teams of the highest level. I ask for respect for the players who are here and are going to give their best to be in a high level to compete.”
The RFEF, which has not officially disclosed the identities of the 15 players in the dispute, said it fully supported the coach and that the omitted players will only return to the squad if they “recognise their mistake and ask for forgiveness”.
Jenni Hermoso brands Vilda dispute ‘worst moment’ in their women’s football history
Spain Women’s all-time record scorer Jenni Hermoso says the dispute between her team-mates and head coach Jorge Vilda is the “worst moment” in women’s football history in her homeland.
Spain icon Hermoso, who has 42 goals for her country, has now voiced her support for her team-mates, having been part of the international set-up since making her debut in 2011.
“I want to publicly express my support for all my colleagues who a few days ago decided to communicate their position,” she wrote in a statement on Twitter. “Not only do I understand your reasons, but I have also experienced many of the feelings and concerns you have communicated.
“I am very aware of this because I have had the opportunity to live unique and immensely happy experiences playing for Spain, but I have to admit that in recent years I have also had very tough moments of suffering before, during and after national team camps; an endless number of situations that left me unable to recognise myself and in turn made me feel immense loneliness within the national team.
“These last few days, without a doubt, have been some of the most difficult that I have lived as a professional footballer and as a member of the Spanish national team.
“After all that we have worked for, it breaks my heart to realise that we are living through the worst moments in the history of women’s football in Spain.”
Spain squad to face Sweden and United States…
Goalkeepers: Misa Rodrguez (Real Madrid) Sun Quinones (Athletic) Enith Salon (Valencia)
Defenders: Sheila Garca (Atletico) Oihane Hernandez (Athletic) Ivana Andres (Real Madrid) Ana Tejada (Real Sociedad) Rocio Galvez (Real Madrid) Maria Mendez (Levante) Olga Carmona (Real Madrid) Nuria Rabano (Barcelona)
Midfielders Teresa Abelleira (Real Madrid) Anna Torroda (Valencia) Maitane Lopez (Atletico) Maite Oroz (Real Madrid) Irene Guerrero (Atletico) Claudia Zornoza (Real Madrid)
Forwards: Marta Cardona (Real Madrid) Ane Azcona (Athletic) Esther Gonzalez (Real Madrid) Alba Redondo (Levante) Athenea del Castillo (Real Madrid) Salma Paralluelo (Barcelona)