Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales ignited controversy on Sunday after he kissed striker Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the postgame celebrations following Spain’s World Cup final win.
Speaking to reporters after the match, while Hermoso said she “did not enjoy” the moment, Rubiales doubled down on his actions by calling anyone who had a problem with them “idiots”.
“There are idiots everywhere, When two people have a gesture of affection, that isn’t important, we can’t pay attention to idiocy. We’re [world] champions and I’ll focus on that,” Rubiales said following Spain’s 1-0 win over England in the World Cup final.
The concerning fact here is the nonchalant manner Rubiales behaves towards Hermoso.
The FA president does this on the biggest stage of the sport with royalty and officials near him, surrounded by cameras.
Very disturbing, and frankly, concerning. pic.twitter.com/Hh89dfWX4S
— SHE scores bangers (@SHEscoresbanger) August 20, 2023
In a separate interview with Cadena COPE, the 33-year-old Hermoso — who is Spain’s all-time leading scorer — said the interaction was “no big deal.”
“It was a mutual, totally spontaneous gesture because of the huge joy of winning a World Cup. The ‘presi’ and I have a great relationship. His behavior with us has been a ’10.’ It was a natural gesture, of affection and gratitude . . . We’ve won a World Cup, and we won’t get away from what’s important,” she said.
The incident with Rubiales and Hermoso is just one of a handful of headlines that have sprung out of Spain’s run to its first-ever World Cup title (on the women’s side), as head coach Jorge Vilda has also been the subject of a months-long controversy ever since 15 of his players wrote to the Spanish federation to raise concerns about his management style last October.
La Roja’s first-ever World Cup title came courtesy of a 29th-minute goal from 23-year-old left back Olga Carmona. Spain was deserved winners over the Three Lionesses, as they had 16% more possession, 123 more passes, and two more shots on target than England did in the match.
During her 11-year-long international career, Hermoso — who played for the likes of Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, and Atletico Madrid during her prime — has 101 caps and 51 goals for Spain.