A spectacular sun has reigned this Sunday in the training of the Spanish team in the sports city Luis del Sol, Betis, in Seville. The members of the selection, who on Tuesday face Switzerland in Cordoba (21.00, La 2 of RTVE), had a day of almost rest on Saturday, in which they received the affection of the Sevillians. "A lady accompanied us on the walk and told us her example. We were moved because he thanked us for our struggle and to achieve a better society, "said Alexia Putellas, the captain and leader of Spain and one of the six players who appeared before the media in an improvised mixed zone right next to the main field of the Betic facilities, where they had trained. Alexia, leader of the group with Irene Paredes, was very categorical: "I think everything is clear. Zero tolerance for everything the world saw. And zero tolerance for what can't be talked about and happened. Women's football has not been on the list of priorities in federation structures. For example, when we prepared to qualify for the European Championship, if it was a Thursday, we did training on a Wednesday and took a plane at three in the morning. There must be elite schedules. We depend on many things. It was not coherent and normal to get up at three in the morning and compete the next day to be in a European Championship, "said Alexia.
"The meeting was a turning point. We are better," added the captain of the Spanish team, who rebelled against the possibility that her message is not being understood by society. "Whoever doesn't understand us doesn't want to understand us. We have spoken, we have made statements. We are the first ones who want to be in the Spanish national team. The issue is that we wanted zero tolerance for certain behaviors to be ahead. We believe the system failed. The Federation failed and the country failed. We explained what we felt and what was not seen, "said Alexia, who also made it clear that the players do not remove or put the coaches of the selection.
"I don't know why they kick Jorge [Vilda] out. It was decided by the Federation. On the street and in the media, many things are said. We transmit the feelings of the players. To him, the first. We transferred everything to the Federation and from there decisions were made," he insisted. Alexia also referred to the comrades who left the concentration, Mapi León and Patri Guijarro. "Mapi and Patri? I can't speak for them. My perception is that we have yet to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But I think the foundations have been laid for that. I'm calmer now," she said. "I've thought a lot about Jenni. We have known her for many years and we know what she is like. We could not leave her alone and we had to draw strength from wherever she went. I was in a complicated situation and as the days went by it was even greater. We had to empathize with her and we had the strength and energy so that this did not happen anymore, "he concluded.
Penalty level and iron
The preponderant role of Alexia was seconded by Irene Paredes. More serious than Alexia, but just as forceful, Paredes lamented that there were some sectors of society that still do not understand her message. "We have said everything very clearly. We conveyed a number of concerns to the Federation. Whoever does not want to understand it is that he does not want to. We cannot give all the details and point people to because there is an open judicial process. We simply cannot tolerate what happened. We have been treated like girls and we are all adults," Paredes said. "It was a difficult concentration. We didn't want to come, it's true, but there were meetings and we have been heard. It is that all of us who are here have felt similar harassment, greater or lesser, and we are all identified, "he insisted. "I do not value the dismissal of Jorge Vilda, it was a decision of the Federation," he added.
Meanwhile, with 22 years, Athenea del Castillo explained with maturity her reasons for not having resigned from the selection when she was called in the first instance. "Freedom of expression prevails here. The opinion of each one of us is respected and I made it clear to my teammates that I could not give up the selection. I support Jenni, but it was not in my plans to give up playing for Spain. For me that's very important," he clarified. "I haven't felt alienated at any time. Not alone. My people supported me. My teammates have understood me," she added. And also her companions were asked about that decision of Athenea. "Did you see how we celebrated the goals against Sweden? All united," said Irene Paredes. In the center of a bunch of microphones, Alexia also spoke on this topic: "We respected Athenea's opinion from the beginning. Because, in addition, he did one thing very well. He told us quickly and to our faces. That is respected."
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