Jenni Hermoso has been recalled to the Spain squad after being left out for last month’s UEFA Nations League wins over Sweden and Switzerland.
Coach Montse Tomé said she omitted Hermoso to “protect her” after the Spain forward pressed charges against ousted Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales for his unsolicited kiss after August’s World Cup final.
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That prompted Hermoso, who plays for Mexican side CF Pachuca, to release a short statement asking what she needed protecting from.
On Wednesday, Hermoso, La Roja‘s record goal scorer, was named in the squad for the first time since the World Cup for October’s Nations League fixtures against Italy and Switzerland.
Asked about Hermoso’s inclusion at a Wednesday news conference, Tomé said she had spoken with the player and reiterated that her absence in the previous squad was an attempt to protect her.
“I explained [to Hermoso] at the time why she was not called up last time and after that camp we got in contact with her,” Tomé said.
“Maybe it created speculation, but there has been no problem with her at any moment. I took the decision to protect here as I thought it was the best thing for her at that moment.”
Rubiales’ conduct after the Spain beat England in the World Cup final in Sydney has had wide-reaching consequences across Spanish football.
In addition to the resignation of Rubiales — who is facing charges of sexual assault and coercion — World Cup-winning coach Jorge Vilda was one of a number of other people to lose their jobs with the RFEF as part of a series of changes.
Vilda, who was replaced by his former assistant, Tomé, has since been appointed as the manager of Morocco’s women’s national team.
Meanwhile, it took a series of late-night meetings and government mediation to convince the majority of the squad to play September’s matches against Sweden and Switzerland after they had been called up against their will.
Spain went on to win those games 3-2 and and 5-0 respectively to place themselves at the top of League A Group 4 in the Nations League, which doubles up as qualification for next year’s Olympic Games in France.
However, while Hermoso returns, Barcelona duo Mapi León and Patri Guijarro remain absent from the squad.
Leon and Guijarro both sat out the World Cup in the summer following the decision of 15 players in 2022 to make themselves unavailable for the national team until the RFEF made certain changes.
Three of the 15 returned for the World Cup, while others had made themselves available for selection, but Leon and Guijarro did not.
They both turned down a call-up from Tomé in September, saying that it was not the right moment or manner for them to return.
Tomé spoke of the players’ absence at the news conference on Wednesday.
“They were called up last time as part of the 23 players who for us were the best for those two games,” she said.
“They communicated their opinion [no to be part of the squad], which we respect. We haven’t heard anything else [since then].
“There have been changes at the RFEF. We want to think about football as soon as possible. They are two important players for their club who we continue to value, but we respect what they have decided.”