1709062959 UEFA Women39s Nations League The fragility of Jenni Hermoso It

UEFA Women's Nations League: The fragility of Jenni Hermoso: “It hurt me and it still hurts me” | Football | Sports

The story of Jenni Hermoso, who has become an icon of Spanish football, has many nuances and edges. Like his painful and inspiring journey from Sydney to Seville, via Madrid and Tigres in Mexico. From the World Cup final to the Nations League final that takes place this Wednesday in La Cartuja (against France, at 7:00 p.m., on La1) and in which Spain aims for another title, this time continental. During these months, from August to February, the 33-year-old soccer player, originally from the modest Carabanchel district of Madrid, was on the covers of magazines (little, because she was not widely featured in the press) and on television programs (she was ). was even invited by TVE1 to ring the New Year's Eve chimes) and, together with 25 other personalities of the caliber of Margot Robbie, Beyoncé, Coco Gauff or Ursula, was included in the list of the most influential women in the world in 2023 by you read. But it wasn't all smiles (his is wide) and sparkles. “I am lucky to be playing in the final again after six very long months. Today I enjoy football and games with the national team. I'm representing Spain to win another tournament. I'm happy and hope that this Wednesday will be another great day for everyone. “Football continues to give me the life I need,” he said this Tuesday from Seville.

According to various sources, Jenni is a fragile woman, permeable to outside criticism and the advice of her friends; She is also outgoing, friendly and smiling. A simple person, proud to be from the neighborhood. From a simple family, with the right education and no cultural concerns. That he benefits from the fame that football has brought him. “She floats through life, she is happy and accepts what comes,” says a voice from the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF). Until August 20, until that final that Spain won and which would soon be tainted by a reprehensible gesture, Hermoso had “a very good relationship with Rubiales, full of nonsense and nonsense,” say the same sources. In addition, she felt supported and protected by the president and his entourage, being one of the first to ask to return to the national team after the collective resignation of the 15. Perhaps that is why she found it difficult to accept that it was neither right nor appropriate for the then head of the RFEF to plant a kiss on her nose in the middle of the World Cup winner's presentation ceremony. But what she didn't see, despite the discomfort she felt from that unwanted kiss, despite the “Oh well” she said moments later in a live broadcast on social media, was what her colleagues saw. Her friends. Particularly two of the team's veterans: Alexia Putellas (with whom she was very close and whose relationship blossomed in Australia and New Zealand) and Irene Paredes, who sat next to each other on the plane back to Spain.

Putellas and Paredes quickly assumed two things: that this gesture was intolerable, a sign of sexual aggression and abuse of power; but also that a forceful denunciation would help them reinforce their message and the grievances that had gone almost unnoticed a year earlier: that they were working in an unhealthy and unprofessional environment; that they did not like the style of the coach Jorge Vilda (the one to whom Rubiales made an obscene gesture from the penalty area: “For your cojones”) and that the association needed a change of scenery and a restructuring of structures and values. They're still at it. Although in the episode both Rubiales and Vilda have already walked out the door, the football players, led by the two veterans and on behalf of Hermoso, presented a clear image of unity and unity, in addition to some other accusations that they cited They managed to shake the football town of Las Rozas to its foundations.

But those first days of training with the national team after the tsunami caused by Rubiales' kiss, those of zero tolerance and #seacabó, moving forward without Jenni Hermoso, precluded the first call of the new coach Montse Tomé that he supposedly wanted to to protect her. “Protect me from what or who?” she replied. His absence also impacted the locker room. And in her relationship with Tomé, who invited her back for the next date. There were unpleasant conversations. That worked. “I’m happy,” Jenni insists today. And she explains what her return looked like: “I was clear. And I've already told them my part. I never understood it, I never will understand it. It hurt me and it still hurts me; and it will stay there, but it's already over. I'm still here, I'm still defending this shield and this team. The most important thing for me is that I can continue to defend this jersey.”

Hermoso had denounced Rubiales publicly and in court – he will be convicted of this non-consensual kiss – but he endured an ordeal between those celebrations in Sydney, a bottle of cava in hand, and the decisive games that eventually took him to the Spanish final team in this Nations League final. In addition to the alleged pressure exerted by Vilda or Albert Luque, the association's football director, which must also be proven before the judge, there are messages and criticism via social networks as well as the difficulty of getting back into the spotlight for sporting reasons alone.

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The public denunciation and the ensuing crisis in the Federation took their toll on Hermoso, who sometimes became a puppet of the cause.

He began to free himself in the locker room. Piece by piece. When she first returned to Las Rozas last summer, she looked quite distressed. “She wasn’t the usual Jenni,” says an authoritative voice from the dressing room. He knew he was the center of attention and wasn't sure how to act or whether or not to talk to the media. “The truth is that it bothers me… I don't really know what I have to do,” he stressed at the time. And supported by everyone who gave her free rein, she only spoke on television after scoring the goal against Italy that was worth the ticket to this Final Four that will have to be decided this Wednesday against France.

In these weeks more has come to light. Like the other day, after the win against the Netherlands and qualification for Paris 2024, which was sealed with a great goal from the Madrid player. “Are you going out?” they asked him. “No problems,” she decided. “I screamed a lot, I released a lot of emotions on a very important day.” “Since we were little we have dreamed of something like this, of taking part in the games,” began the 10 of La Roja, the few minutes before opened her arms to receive the encouragement of the fans of La Cartuja, where her family and friends were. also the hugging of all teammates on the mat. He was moved when he remembered it. “It's very difficult for me to cry, but when I let it out… it's because I have a lot inside,” he confessed. And when they asked him to whom he dedicated the goal, he replied with a speech of personal justification: “I thought about myself, in the time that I worked mentally and physically to play a game at a high level, I dedicate it.” “The goal for myself and the triumph,” he emphasized.

This Tuesday he came to the fore again. And she realized that the World Cup had changed her. As a person and as a footballer: “It was a long, hard process of understanding many things and knowing many others.” I learned a lot, I am a stronger girl. I'm proud of everything I did today.

Jenni Hermoso smiles in the La Cartuja press room.Jenni Hermoso smiles in the press room of La Cartuja.Marcelo del Pozo (Portal)

Jenni is a special player. “With innate quality and a very differentiated style of play with the ball.” It is very difficult to defend against each other and in small spaces. He protects the ball very well and is characterized by great skill. “He also has a good final pass and a good goal,” says a national team scout. Federal sources say he is enjoying his stay in Mexico. He is happier. He left Barcelona in the summer of 2022 with less complicity in the dressing room than before and went to Mexico. “My priority is to be happy and appreciated,” he said. After this sudden departure from the Barça club and after missing the European Championship in July of the same year due to a knee injury, he wanted to get involved and return to Spain before all 15. He played and won the World Cup. He became the figurehead of Spanish football. She had some setbacks, but new routines and great form took her to this different final. Vilda even said before the World Cup that she was “the best midfielder in the world,” she was the team’s top goalscorer and the only one to reach the 50-goal mark.

“Versatile on the field” is how she sees her teammates, who enjoy her concentration – she is responsible for the music and the first one ready to dance – and her football experience on the field. green: “He has a spectacular left foot and can play wherever he wants because he has a lot of quality,” says Olga Carmona. “Like the best things, it fits everywhere.” It’s incredible,” adds Misa, one of her great friends in the dressing room alongside Alexia or Laia Codina. “He offers a lot of security, he has a lot of mobility, he keeps the ball on the last pass.” “It gives us a lot of variety in the game,” says Alba Redondo. “She has enormous quality, goals, passes, vision, she keeps the ball, she is a great player.” It is an honor to have her with us,” concludes Tere Abelleira.

His national team career goes hand in hand with that of Putellas and Paredes. They are the national players with the most games in La Roja: 113 games for Alexia; 111, Jenni; 102, Irene. They call themselves the dinosaurs. It all started with them, the first qualifications for the World and European Championships nine years ago; and this revolution that will reach its climax this Wednesday, who knows if with a different title. “If we win, Spain will have made history again. Let people talk about it, let the footballers continue to move forward and look to the future.” And that young women see us as a role model that they can follow.” It is Jenni Hermoso's wish.

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